The Dwight Howard Dilemma

Injuries and poor play has Howard owners in a very tricky spot.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

Dwight Howard joining the Los Angeles Lakers was supposed to be a fantasy dream come true. Admittedly, Howard was coming off an injury, and that is always an iffy thing, but putting the most dominant big man in the game today on the same team as Kobe Bryant should have been a recipe for the tastiest treat known to man.

Instead, it's left the most bitter of tastes in the mouths of fantasy owners across the board who took an early flier on the once great center. Thanks to under-performance, poor chemistry and continued injuries, Howard has become this year's draft day bust and the guy you just cringe at when setting your line-ups, even if he is startable.

The latest injury to Howard is actually an aggravation of an injury suffered on Jan. 4 when Clippers forward Caron Butler struck him while trying to strip the ball. That contact caused a torn labrum in Howard's shoulder that was aggravated in the fourth quarter of the Lakers Wednesday night loss to the Phoenix Suns.

As of right now, Howard is listed as day to day, but the real rub is that this is going to be a lingering problem all year as the quick fix, surgery, isn't an option that Howard is willing to take. That option would keep the big man off the court for six months.

His aggravation at this and his other recent injuries were made apparent when he answered questions about them on Wednesday.

"Two years of having injuries is not something that's easy to deal with, but I won't lose my spirit," said Howard, who never finished his final season in Orlando because of back surgery last April.

From a fantasy aspect, this injury has clearly hampered the big man's production. Over the last seven games Howard is only averaging 10.4 points per game and 7.7 rebounds, numbers that are far below what owners who drafted him were expecting.

Overall, the combination of his health plus his potential to dominate has fantasy buffs flummoxed as to what to do with the big man. A potential team changer when he's in the zone, it's hard to bench the guy when active, but his recent performance have been anything but noteworthy.

Luckily for those same guys, the decision looks to be made for them as Howard is sure to miss at least one or two games while he heals.

James LeBeau is a contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on

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