Howard will miss his fourth straight game with a back injury Sunday against the Cavaliers. He was diagnosed with a herniated disk last week. Howard will rest the injury for 10 days and then be re-evaluated.
Van Gundy said before Sunday’s game that he would consider it a bonus if Howard or forward Hedo Turkoglu, who is sidelined with a facial fracture, return at some point this season. The playoffs begin April 28.
”We’re approaching it that the 13 (healthy) guys we have now are who we’re going to have the rest of the season and in the playoffs,” Van Gundy said.
Howard joined his teammates in Cleveland, but a team spokesman said he would remain at the Magic’s hotel during the game. He will accompany the team back to Orlando, where the Magic host Philadelphia on Friday.
Orlando, which is sixth in the Eastern Conference, can clinch a playoff spot with a win Sunday. The Magic were 1-4 without their standout center going into the game.
Howard has missed six games overall with the injury. The team initially said he had back spasms. He hasn’t played since scoring 20 points and grabbing 22 rebounds on April 7 against Philadelphia. Howard was diagnosed with the herniated disk on Friday in Los Angeles.
- Magic prepare to end season without Howard (espn.go.com)
- Orlando Magic: Are They Still a Playoff-Caliber Team Without Dwight Howard? (bleacherreport.com)
- Dwight Howard Out Indefinitely With Herniated Disk (inquisitr.com)