Los Angeles Lakers: rehab
Obviously, a grain of salt should be applied to what's barely a minute of workout footage. But to my eye, that Dwight Howard is currently recovering from back surgery doesn't stand out in flashing neon lights. That's not to say Howard is clearly ready to hit the court and destroy. Even hinting this would be speculative and irresponsible. I have no idea how directly these snippets translate to Howard competing against actual NBA competition during an actual NBA game, but there's no denying he looks fairly spry for someone who went under the knife in April. His movements are fluid. His step and jump hooks contain bounce. He's able to handle some degree of pressure to his back in the form of Lakers assistant coach Darvin Ham's forearms. All welcome sights for a Lakers fan's eyes.
Plus, his celebratory handshake with video coordinator J.J. Outlaw is totally on point. And isn't that what really matters most?
Again, I'm not treating this as a sign Howard will suit up come Oct. 30 or maybe even several games afterward. As Trudell notes, "The team continues to stress that no timetable has been determined for Howard's return, but allowed that there have been no set backs to this point in his rehabilitation." In other words, caution is being exercised, just as it should be. Howard has repeatedly insisted on returning when he's 100 percent, whenever that may be. For the short- and long-term interests of this franchise, it's the right call, and I hope he never changes course.
But just as important, the Lakers are reporting no setbacks, and based on this video, the center in fact appears to be chugging steadily forward.