Thursday, February 7th, 2013 at 11:00 am  |  47 responses

Kobe Bryant Challenges Dwight Howard to Play Through Injuries

by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

The Los Angeles Lakers are clawing and scratching to get themselves back into the Playoff picture. Injuries, however, threaten to derail any sort of momentum they’ve built up of late.

With Pau Gasol being the latest big man to go down, an increasingly desperate Kobe Bryant is now openly and publicly urging Dwight Howard to fight through his own injuries and suit up.

Howard has been sidelined for the last three games due to an aggravated right shoulder injury, and is reluctant to play again until the pain goes away. Kobe disagrees with this approach completely, and thinks Dwight simply needs to toughen up.

From ESPN:

“We don’t have time for (Howard’s shoulder) to heal,” Bryant said. “We need some urgency.” The interview came one day after Bryant publicly challenged Howard, stating that playing through an injury is “something that you have to balance out and manage.” Bryant also asserted that Howard is preoccupied with how he is perceived by fans and media.

“Dwight worries too much about what people think,” Bryant said. “I told him, ‘You can’t worry about that. It’s holding you back.’ He says, ‘OK, OK, OK,’ but it’s always hovering around him. He just wants people to like him. He doesn’t want to let anyone down, and that gets him away from what he should be doing.” [...] “(Howard) has never been in a position where someone is driving him as hard as I am, as hard as this organization is,” Bryant said. “It’s win a championship or everything is a complete failure. That’s just how (the Lakers) do it. And that’s foreign to him.”


The pressure for the big fella to play through the injury — even inside his own locker room — has been mounting. It’s probably not coincidental that Kobe Bryant put Dwight Howard on blast like this prior to tonight’s big, nationally-televised matchup with the Boston Celtics.

Dwight Howard has preached patience with the Lakers’ struggles all season long, but his teammate clearly believes a sense of urgency is lacking: “We don’t have three years,” Kobe said. “We’ve got this year.”

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  • http://twitter.com/thursti_tyht Thurstian Tsui

    Kobe is being a dick but only because Dwight needs it, he’s in one of the league’s best franchises, and they take winning basketball way more seriously.

  • Caboose

    Well, if there’s anyone who could call Dwight out on this, it’d be Kobe. Or Carl Landry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    Pretty sure Kobe playing with a torn ligament in his wrist in 2011 was just as bad as Dwight’s shoulder strain, if not worse…but then again, people have different pain thresholds, and I wouldn’t expect D-Ho to have even 1/5 of the threshold that players like Jordan or Kobe or even Wade have.

    Old man Bryant getting antsy about the playoffs.

  • spit hot fiyah

    might not be the smartest thing after the fact that gasol might be out like 2 months. if Howards injury gets worse and they have to shut him down long term the season is officially over

  • pposse

    its definately not!! He has a torn ligament, that injury has the potential to get a lot worse. What’s next for DH is what happened to D Wade when he reached in on Shane Battier and then subsequently got shoulder surgery, sucked in the playoffs then had off season surgery.

    Kobe is being selfish, he can’t wait around for DH to heal, but this injury most likely requires surgery and 6 months to heal. DH is not even under contract after this year, his managers/ agent should be explaining this to him.

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford

    They are saying Dwight shoulder injury can’t get any worse but my concern would be his back.

  • shockexchange

    Rent-A-Center’s injuries sound worse than what the Lakers are leading on. The Shock Exchange read somewhere that sometimes when D12 sits down he can’t feel his legs. This isn’t a lack of will power … this guy is genuinely hurt. The Shock Exchange gets the impression that D12 doesn’t want to “shut it down” out of fear that he will be criticized for bagging on L.A. We already know he doesn’t want to be there … or he woulda “put a ring on it” already.

  • peppstudent3

    truth is dwight’s got three years–it’s kobe who does not. from pure opinion, i’d say that yes, dwight does need a push to take the game more seriously. BUT i wouldn’t say he should necessarily force himself to play through an injury he isn’t comfortable playing with just to maybe get a couple rounds into the playoffs–if that. there’s no way they’re pushing to the finals. not a chance.

  • http://twitter.com/thursti_tyht Thurstian Tsui

    Lakers are in win now mode, you can technically say that if they don’t win this year it might all be over. Pau might be looking to move given the fact that the coach and the team have treated him horribly. Dwight-mare will ensue again. Kobe and Nash aren’t getting any younger and who knows if Nash can keep this up next year.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Dwight’s labrum is torn. Not strained. And as someone who has experienced both injuries, the shoulder one is worse. much worse.
    with that being said, he can still play through it just fine.

  • KoloradoKobe

    Kobe: “I hate your soft a$$, but I’m old and I need you to win a ring. And I know you ain’t stickin around after this season ’cause you hate me too. So we need to win this $hit NOW.”

  • KoloradoKobe

    Dwight: “I want to win, but I want to look good and have fun doing it. And I want it to be MY team. If I think we’re not going to win the chip this year, no way am I getting more hurt and messing up my FA payday this summer.”

  • pposse

    i had a torn labrum, and then i had surgery. I dont know how you can play through that.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    what kind of larbal tear did you have?

  • Initbruv

    Is it really helpful for Kobe to always say this stuff to the media? Ok so he said it to Dwight, why does it need repeating to the media?

  • pposse

    i had the one where my shoulder dislocated atleast six times. For a whole year I would rehab (albeit not properly as i did it mostly on my own). I would rehab for like two months, try and play some bball and redislocate the shoulder, that cycle happened for a year or so, finally i had the surgery, took the rehab seriously and don’t really have any limitations now.

    I was 19 when it happened, didn’t really ask too many questions after I initially dislocated the shoulder; doctor told me it was torn that day. I’m not aware of different types of tears/grades of tears i really have no idea which kind of tear it was.

  • Conor

    My father had the same surgery as Howard for L4 & L5 herniations. Howard saying that his legs feel numb when he sits is a complete fabrication.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    Dwight has a bad back and a bad shoulder. And next year he needs to cash in. He’s a fool if he listens to Kobe. Kobe is always telling other people how they need to change, but only changes himself on his timetable. He cracks me up.

  • shockexchange

    The Shock Exchange thinks Rent-A-Center has a different ailment – “IDon’tWannaRe-SignWithL.A.Itis”


    Somewhere in Houston Jeremy Lin is thanking God that Kobe wasnt his teammate last year because Kobe wouldve destroyed Lin’s payday by forcing him to play Miami in the first round! If I was D12, I’d take my time and get healthy… Kobe is on the back end of his career but you are not! Take your time and get your body right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    I thought that was what Howard was doing this season, playing through a back injury that still hasn’t fully healed.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Bankart Tears
    A Bankart tear is a labral tear that occurs when a shoulder dislocates. When the shoulder comes out of joint, the labrum is torn, and makes the shoulder more susceptible to future dislocations.


    SLAP Tears
    A SLAP tear is a type of labral tear most commonly seen in overhead throwing athletes such as baseball players and tennis players. The torn labrum seen in a SLAP tear is at the top of the shoulder socket where the biceps tendon attaches to the shoulder.
    *from everything i’ve read, Howard has a SLAP tear (which i’ve had since i was 16 years old and played 3 sports with, one of which as a pitcher in baseball).

  • Kilo

    Howard is leaving LA and I knew after he came out and apologized about complaining his touches. He was right about that, and when a star renigs on anything in this league he has emotionally checked out if the situation, because you know it cause if superstars complain in the NBA things change. But he doesn’t care and he shouldn’t care.

  • Kilo

    KoloradoKobe? Wow, let it go.

  • Conor

    I think he’s right.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Yep that’s a different type of tear. Dwight ( as I’ve read) has a SLAP tear. Which I have had since high school. I played golf basketball and PITCHED in baseball with that injury through my whole junior and senior years. If he isn’t getting surgery and is sitting out because of his shoulder (as is being reported) then he just doesn’t want to play.

  • Dutch Rich

    I sincerely think that Dwight enjoys watching Earl Clark dash about in bewildered glee.

  • LeroyShonuff

    I remember being ripped on this site a few years back when i said Dwight is overrated and you can’t win with him. The past two years have only proven my point. Some people in life just want to be rich and famous without the pressure of greatness. Nothing is wrong with that, but when you enter environments like LA, Bos, Chi, SA, NYK, 76ers your expected to be great! Dwight should of just stayed in orlando

  • shutup

    So your father’s surgery has a direct impact on the symptoms of Howard’s injuries? Your intelligence and logic are complete fabrications….

  • Chukaz

    We’re gonna need to trade Howard. I think a lot of the shine in Dwight is gone. He’s not the most athletic big in the L. He’s not even the most athletic Center in the game (either Jordan or McGee). At this point i think he might be like the 3rd best athlete on the Lakers (Kobe and Clark). He doesn’t have the size, lenght, or height of a Shaq to make up for losing speed and inches off his vertical. He used to simply flex his calves and he’d get up to block shots. Now he needs his knees more then ever. I know he’s recovering from back surgery, but maybe he’s never gonna be the same athlete. LeBron hasn’t been the athlete he was in cleveland since he’s been in miami. You start to notice a decline in athleticism around age 27. Dwight’s right around that age. Maybe his best days are behind him.

  • Chukaz

    for the record, i’m not saying lebron’s no longer athletic, simply that he’s not the athlete he was 2-3 years ago. it hasn’t affected lebron because he’s got an amazing handle, vision and touch from close range, not to mention he’s always bigger than his defender, and most of the time he’s taller as well. As a generously listed 6’11 center, dwight does face taller players. He’s always stronger than his defender, but unlike shaq, he’s not overwhelmingly stronger. Dwight has very little skill to fall back on. On a league that lacks quality centers, his all-star selection was a joke.

  • pposse

    I never knew that, always thought there was only one type of tear. As far as NBA goes I remember D Wade with a torn labrum and Jermaine O’neil. Both played through it, but very badly and then had surgery in the offseason. I am wondering if Dwights slap tear can get worse and turn into a bankart tear.

  • Conor

    Symptoms? It was exactly the same surgery, imbecile.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    Best part about this is Kobe now saying he didn’t say that Dwight should play through injury. “We don’t have time for Dwight to heal” is basically saying that he should play through injury. He’s too smart to backtrack like this or act like he didn’t say it and everyone misunderstood what he said.

  • Conor

    Post-op, numbness dissipates after two weeks. Not ten months.

  • Conor

    Good attempt, though. I work at a clinic w/physiotherapy centres and actually know these things.

  • Conor

    Finally, you do realize that the surgery Howard had was to remove numbness in his legs, since that is what a spinal herniation accomplishes, right? Oh, right, you don’t because you talk out of your ass.

  • Yi-Cheng Chen

    That’s why Kobe is an ass to some people. But that’s how he does it and that’s what make who Kobe is. not a a Kobe fan, but sometimes it’s easier to be the villain i guess.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    GO KOBE! slap the sh*t outta dwight

  • shutup

    LMFAO, So the results of your father’s surgery dictates how well/bad Howard responds to his. You work at a clinic so you know these things, you should work at a circus; because your a fuggin clown. Since your medical knowledge is so vast, you may not need to read the following passage, but then again “Symptoms of a herniated disc can vary depending on the location of the herniation and the types of soft tissue that become involved. They can range from little or no pain if the disc is the only tissue injured, to severe and unrelenting neck or low back pain that will radiate into the regions served by affected nerve roots that are irritated or impinged by the herniated material. Often, herniated discs are not diagnosed immediately, as the patients come with undefined pains in the thighs, knees, or feet. Other symptoms may include sensory changes such as numbness, tingling, muscular weakness, paralysis, paresthesia, and affection of reflexes. If the herniated disc is in the lumbar region the patient may also experience sciatica due to irritation of one of the nerve roots of the sciatic nerve. Patients with L3 or L5 herniated disc (usually affecting the knee and leg) also have a high chance of experiencing decreased sexual performance ( erectile dysfunction ) due to the tissue involved with the penile muscle tissue. If the extruded nucleus pulposus material doesn’t press on the p tissues or muscles, patients may not experience any reduced sexual function symptoms. Unlike a pulsating pain or pain that comes and goes, which can be caused by muscle spasm, pain from a herniated disc is usually continuous or at least is continuous in a specific position of the body.”

    Notice it says different symptoms, and/or different degrees of herniation; but you know that since your dad had the same surgery and you work at a clinic. lolololololololololol

  • http://www.facebook.com/igrindmngt Spade Posse Gang
  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.brodes Jay Brodes

    part of the problem is dantoni but mamba does have a pont. if you suit up; give max effort. d12 is not a “role” player. if he is not healthy dont play..very simple. parts of the game i saw d12 could not hold onto the ball. bricks free throws and wilcox owned him in the paint. this is where i have a problem. wilcox should not be able to push him off the box

  • RayJr

    Well that worked out great didnt it!?!

  • Conor

    My dad could not walk because of the pain his herniations caused him and his subsequent recovery from surgery has limited his standing endurance to three-minute segments, yet he never feels “numbness” in his legs.

    The only thing that’s funny is that you actually believe what you’re saying.

  • Conor

    Notice how it says “…pain from a herniated disc is usually continuous or at least is continuous in a specific position of the body…”. Now, this is prior to operation, when the patient actually has herniated discs. I understand you have difficulty processing information, but a symptom is merely an indication. Howard’s back was operated upon after his symptoms dictated it included herniations. The surgery, removing said herniations, consistently removes any numbness or jolting pains caused by the former affliction within a month.

    It’s funny you’d mention the circus because there’s a theatrical series called the Shaw Festival playing near Toronto that is looking for a person qualified to fulfill the role of “town dunce” which I think you should seriously consider!

  • shutup

    Once again if you studied any type of medicine you would know that different people feel different pain in different ways, and the fact that you want to compare your father (who I know nothing off; except he isn’t a 6’11 pro basketball player)to Dwight Howard, is a stretch. Different muscle development and just because the injury is the “same” doesn’t mean it’s exactly the same. Your reaching kid, just let it go. Who are you to say his surgery was 100% successful. Lower back pain is the toughest to treat and even if the disc is “fixed” the muscular damage could be permanent. You see I might not work in a clinic, but faking a back injury that cannot be proven or disproved is a sure fire way to get some good pills. I have a bottle full of xanaflex and oxy tens to prove it. So while you maybe full of clinical knowledge, your pride or exaggerated sense of self makes you think your omnipotent, when clearly you have ignored one major fact; everybody is different and one person’s results do not dictate another’s. LOL Town Dunce…..I bet you think your smarter than me……

  • EasyE

    As many injuries as Kobe has played through, for years.. from fingers, to ankles to no cartilage in his knee. Anytime he says someone needs to suck it up, he practices what he preaches…plus, Dwight has always been a problem after while, with LA, its just not been a long while. I wish they’d trade D12 anyway and get some real teammates and not a prima donna.