Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Los Angeles Lakers [Print without images]

Friday, March 8, 2013
Dwight Howard's game shirt is function, not fashion

By Dave McMenamin

If you thought that the compression shirt Dwight Howard has been wearing under his Lakers uniform these days was just another accessory like the arm sleeves and headband he wore earlier in the season or a way to accentuate his shoulder muscles for the cameras, think again.

Howard has been wearing a Posture Shirt for the last 11 games and hasn't missed any playing time because of the torn labrum in his right shoulder since putting it on.

"It’s been doing a pretty good job of keeping everything straight as far as my back and my shoulder, making sure that everything is inline," Howard said recently. "A lot of people think that it’s just a regular Polo T, but it’s not. It’s a shirt that was made strictly for posture and making sure the scapula and everything stay straight."

Howard aggravated his shoulder in the first quarter of the Lakers' 122-105 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday but was able to play the rest of the game as well as the next day against New Orleans in part because of the garment.

"Anybody who has had a torn labrum knows that it’s not something that you feel all the time," Howard said last week. "It’s not something that just bothers you while you’re walking or you’re working out. There’s moments where it feels really good and then once someone pulls you or hits you in the wrong position, that’s when sometimes everything in your arm goes numb. It just depends."

The Lakers had to receive permission from the league for Howard to wear the shirt as part of his uniform and it was approved because it is considered a medical device.

"We’ve had them in the locker room all year, but nobody is using them and I just started to wear it and actually felt a lot better," Howard said after shootaround Friday.