Dwight Howard plays center for the Washington Wizards, or at least he did until a herniated disc sidelined him in November. The NBA announced he would go through a spinal surgery in late November, and be off the court for 2 to 3 months following the procedure.

The Washington Post reports Howard attended a basketball game in Atlanta in December, following a lumbar microdiscectomy.

“Oh, I can sit down. I can touch my toes, put my socks on — all the stuff I couldn’t do before the surgery.”

“It feels good to get that stuff off, because I was in a lot of pain,” Howard said. “I don’t know how I actually played the way I was playing with what was going on in my body, and I’m just so happy that it’s gone.”

Dr. Samer Shamieh describes the discs in the spine as jelly doughnuts. A herniated disc is when the jelly-like center squeezes out and puts pressure on the surrounding nerve roots.

A microdiscectomy involves the removal of the herniated part of the disc, or the jelly-material squeezing the nerve roots. It requires only a small half an inch incision in the back.


(Photo by Getty Images.)