Man Down! Man Down! … Wow, that’s a large man…

What happens to a team that has clinched a playoff spot and suddenly loses their franchise player to injury? Would the Lakers still be able to play without Kobe Bryant? Would the Miami Heat be able to play in the playoffs without the likes of Dwayne Wade or Lebron James? They would be able to play, but their chances of winning a seven game series are down the drain. Fortunately, all of those players are healthy and primed for the post season. Unfortuanatley for the Magic, they will have to live in this situation.

Yesterday it was announced that 7-foot 270 pound Dwight Howard, center for the Orlando Magic, will fly to L.A. to undergo back surgery after a hearniated disk was discovered in his back a week ago. Even more, you have probably seen the last of Howard in an Orlando jersey. After all the drama that has unfolded this season between Howard and the Magic organization, it is highly unlikely that we will see him returning in October. Take your pick, he could really end up anywhere.

The Magic had a good chance of beating the Indiana Pacers in the first round. Hedo Turkoglu can defend Danny Granger and if the Magic are shooting the ball well, they can stretch the floor and make room for Howard to go one on one with Roy Hibbert. This would have set up for a very interesting second round against the Bulls, (Provided they beat the soon to be announced 8th seed) which would also mean that Boston would play Miami in the second round, potentially giving the Celtics a window of hope into the conference finals.

Earlier in the season, the big man was considering playing in New Jersey, soon to be the Brooklyn Nets. It would be a great market to play in. Furthermore, to have a point guard like Deron Williams would be the perfect compliment to Howard’s play in the middle.

You would think that a player with Dwight’s skill, power and size would be able to easily carry a team into the post season. He has. He went to the NBA finals against the Lakers, and his team fell short. They haven’t been out of the second round since. Is it the Orlando curse? Shaquille O’Neal went through the same things; A young talented athletic big man who revolutionized the center position. Even though he had a TMAC in his prime, Shaq and the Magic couldn’t get it done. But once he went to L.A., he had Kobe, or, as people more commonly know it, Kobe had Shaq.

Howard is a great player, and it is aganizing to sit and watch all of this unfold because he is truly a blessing to the league. Even in tough times, he always seems to have a smile on his face. It’s hard to see a player so gifted have to go through what he is going through at such a young age.