Dwight Howard will miss the rest of the 2012 season, including the playoffs and upcoming summer Olympics, upon undergoing surgery Friday morning to repair a herniated disk in his back, the center's agent, Dan Fegan, told ESPN.com's Ric Bucher.
The injury has already forced Howard to miss eight games this season, which is one more than he missed in his first seven seasons combined. His total of 621 games and 22,471 minutes is the most by a center in his first eight seasons in the modern era of the NBA, Bucher writes.
With this news, the Magic are almost surely a one and done team once the playoffs start, but looking at it from a wider angle, how Howard's health holds up after surgery may now slightly alter his stature as one of the NBA's most sought after free agent acquisitions in 2013. According to Howard, doctors have told him he'll be ready to play basketball in four months, in time for next season's training camp. (Twitter link.)
After exercising his player option at this year's trade deadline, the center will remain under contract with the Magic next season, but beyond that remains a mystery. Howard averaged 20.6 PPG and a league leading 14.5 RPG in one of the most tumultuous seasons a player has endured off the court in recent memory.