12:49pm: Howard has undergone an L4-L5 lumbar microdiscectomy, the Wizards confirmed in a press release. According to the team, he’ll be re-evaluated in approximately two to three months.
Howard hopes to return to the court within eight weeks, Charania adds. Haynes suggests a possible two-to-three month timeline, though he acknowledges that the big man could return sooner than that.
12:17am: Wizards center Dwight Howard will likely require surgery to provide relief from a gluteal injury that has kept him out of action for much of his first season in Washington, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Previous reports had indicated that Howard was scheduled to visit a nerve specialist this week, and according to Wojnarowski, that specialist recommended a surgical procedure. If the eight-time All-Star undergoes surgery, he’d be sidelined for a significant portion of the 2018/19 season, so he may seek a second opinion before making any final decisions, writes Wojnarowski.
Howard, who will turn 33 in December, signed a two-year, $10.94MM deal (second-year player option) with Washington during the offseason after being bought out by the Nets. He was expected to provide much-needed rebounding and rim protection for the Wizards, who traded former starting center Marcin Gortat to the Clippers in June. However, Howard has been limited to nine games so far, chipping in 12.8 PPG and 9.2 RPG in just 25.6 minutes per contest.
If Howard remains on the shelf for the foreseeable future, Washington will likely continue to start Thomas Bryant at the five, frequently using smaller lineups in which Markieff Morris serves as the de facto center. Veterans Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith also provide a little depth up front.
Although they’re off to a disappointing 8-13 start, the Wizards are just 1.5 games out of the playoff race and could look to add frontcourt reinforcements at some point via trades or free agency.
The Wizards could also potentially apply for a disabled player exception if Howard is ruled out for the rest of 2018/19, but there’s no indication that this procedure would be a season-ending one. We’ll have to wait for further updates to get a clearer sense of how Howard’s injury will be treated and how long his recovery might take.