Doc: Dwight Howard will recover fully

Updated: April 20, 2012, 11:47 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The team doctor for the Orlando Magic said he believes Dwight Howard will recover fully after undergoing back surgery on Friday, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Dr. Craig Mintzer told the newspaper that Howard is doing well after the surgery and should recover in about four months without complications.

"He shouldn't have restrictions whatsoever. He should come back fully. There shouldn't be an issue there. Really, it's just a matter of time," Mintzer told the Sentinel.

Howard has been complaining of back problems since early March, but it wasn't until Los Angeles-based spine surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins examined him last week that the herniated disk was discovered.

Howard received an epidural to alleviate the pain at that time, and the plan was that he'd rest and rehabilitate his back for 10-14 days before deciding if he could return to play or if further treatment might be necessary. But his back has worsened and both Watkins and the Magic's medical staff determined surgery was necessary.

Mintzer said Howard was disappointed at the news, but not surprised at the medical staff's decision, according to the Sentinel.

"He was as unhappy as you'd expect, but he knew what could happen. He wasn't surprised. He knew what could happen," Mintzer told the newspaper.

The back issues have forced Howard to miss eight games this season, one more than he missed in his first seven seasons combined.

Howard will miss the rest of the Magic's season, as well as this summer's London Olympics.

Meanwhile, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy doubted Hedo Turkoglu's ability to return for the playoffs.

"I think it's going to be very tough," he told the Sentinel.

Turkoglu had surgery on April 7 to repair cheekbone fractures. The minimum time Turkoglu could be out is three weeks, but Van Gundy told the Sentinel that trainer Keon Weise told him Turkoglu's fractures are normally a "6- to 8-week injury."

Turkoglu was inadvertently hit in the face April 5 by the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony's elbow.

ALSO SEE