While Dwight Howard’s prognosis isn't the best news, it could have been much worse for Rockets fans.
After lingering knee pain and swelling, which has forced him out of 17 games so far this season, Howard had a bone marrow aspirate injection in his right knee, the Houston Rockets announced. He will rest for a month and be re-evaluated at that time.
Team physician Walter Lowe told the Houston Chronicle that he expects the rest — more than the procedure — to clear up Howard's knee problems.
"Honestly, it not that big a deal," Lowe said. "Just the right thing to do to get Dwight back to being Dwight."
The surgery aimed to treat the fluid buildup and swelling in Howard’s knee by injecting stem cells from the bone marrow taken from Howard's pelvis to speed up the healing process and improve his cartilage. Stem cells are thought to speed the healing process.
"His cartilage injury is tiny," Lowe said. "It's certainly not a surgical problem. But the pain comes from this [fluid buildup] or the bone bruise that forms underneath it.”
The treatment, it seems, is meant to get Howard ready for the Rockets’ playoff push. The Rockets are currently third in the competitive Western Conference, but 11 of the team’s next 13 opponents over the next month are current playoff teams.
The Rockets have gone 12-5 without Howard.