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Dwight Howard bristles at those who question his desire to play hurt

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff  February 7, 2013 03:11 PM

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Dwight Howard's Adonis-like body was on display late Thursday morning at TD Garden. With a fitted top around his hulking body, Howard attempted free throws and did a light workout as the Lakers prepared to face the Celtics tonight.

Howard is a game-time decision, unsure if the torn labrum in his right shoulder will cooperate enough for him to play. With Pau Gasol expected to miss at least a month with a torn plantar fascia, the Lakers are desperate to get Howard back and Kobe Bryant intimated that this week by mentioning that the club can't wait for Howard to fully heal.

The Lakers center made it clear that he is tuning out all opinions about his willingness to play in pain, and said he will return when the shoulder is able to withstand the rigors of the NBA.

"He's not a doctor; I'm not a doctor; that's his opinion," Howard said about Bryant's comments. "Well, it's torn. I don't know people who play with torn labrum. Yeah, I want to play. Why wouldn't I want to play? But at the same time, this is my career, this is my future, this is my life. I can't leave that up to anybody else. Nobody else is going to take care of me.

"So if people are pissed off that I don't play or I do play or whatever it may be, so what? This is my career. If go down, then what? Everybody's life is going to go on. So I don't want to have to have another summer where I'm rehabbing and trying to get healthy again. I want to come back and have another great year."

Howard had offseason back surgery and played most of last season with a herniated disk.

"Last year I wanted to prove and show people that I could play through injuries and the back is something serious and I don't want that to happen," he said. "The way I play, the post is not an easy position. You're pushing guys 260 [pounds], 270 and you have to use a lot of force to do that. If I play tonight, we'll see how it feels later on. If I don't, we just have to move forward."

Howard said he has no intention to discuss his injury with Bryant, the Lakers' unquestioned leader and future Hall of Famer.

"Have I talked to Kobe?" he said. "Why do I have to explain [my injury] to Kobe? Is he a doctor? So I should explain that to all my teammates then, right? That's [Kobe's] opinion."

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