There goes Dwight Howard, gone for the season, gone for the playoffs, maybe gone from Orlando forever. Back surgery took care of the first two, a procedure to repair a painful herniated disk in his lower back that will likely sideline him for the next four months, while a freshly scorched relationship with the team could take care of the third. Sources close to Howard insist he never made the reported phone call to Magic owner Rich DeVos during last Friday's loss to Atlanta declaring his intention to never play for Stan Van Gundy again, though it doesn't change the fact that he has no interest in continuing to do it.
Howard believes Van Gundy lied when he told reporters he knew Howard asked for his dismissal because, a league source familiar with the situation said, he never specifically did. There is no love lost between Howard and Van Gundy but sources close to the All-Star center said it was Orlando's front office that first approached him about canning Van Gundy in December, before the Magic's season deteriorated.