Howard’s emotions are difficult to read. If not playing at a high level is painful to his pride, then he’s certainly a better actor than we thought, because that doesn’t seem to be the case.
For the rare occasion Thursday morning, he wasn’t clowning. He was seething, and it took some pointed questions to spark a reaction.
“Last year, I wanted to prove and show people that I could play through injuries, and the back is something serious and I don’t want that to happen,” he said. “The way I play, the post is not an easy position. You’re pushing guys 260, 270 and you have to use a lot of force to do that.
“If I play tonight, we’ll see how it feels later on. If I don’t, we just have to move forward.
“Have I talked to Kobe? Why do I have to explain it to Kobe? Is he a doctor? So I should explain that to all my teammates then, right? That’s his opinion.”
Give Howard credit for trying Thursday night. Give him credit for at least attempting to give the perception that he cares more about the Lakers than himself.
But no one should question the extent of Howard’s injury; what they should question is his desire to reach the highest level.
Because he isn’t there yet.