[UPDATE/Correction] It looks like I misunderstood Josh when speaking to him the other night. Per a recent (3/11/10) tweet of Michael Lee (and post on Wizards Insider) he actually has yet to have surgery and is waiting for the swelling to go down. I thought that sounded a little soon. Next time I’ll be sure and double-check. My bad.
I briefly caught up with Josh Howard about an hour before tonight’s game. He was here at the Verizon Center to rehab his knee with the Wizards’ training staff. A couple weeks out of surgery to repair a torn ACL, he said everything was going according to plan and that he was waiting for the doctors to tell him the next step. Howard said he’s been rehabbing by lifting light weights and that he was about to try some light jogging/backpedaling.
He referred to his knee injury as a “little setback” and said that it would not affect rehabbing his ankle, which he had previously said was around 80% when he arrived in Washington after the trade and reaffirmed that percentage tonight. Before he got hurt during a February 22nd home game against the Chicago Bulls, the first knee injury he said he’s ever experienced, Howard was hoping to make the ankle, which has given him so many problems over the past couple of years, better and stronger by playing on it.
I mentioned that a lot of people are assuming the Wizards will not pick up his $11.8 million option for next season and asked if that would factor into the possibility of him resigning with the team. Howard gave a sheepish smile and said, “That doesn’t mean anything.” He indicated it did mean something that the Wizards brought him in and touted the fact that the team has two first round draft picks this summer and plenty of cap space.
Despite the disappointment, Howard seemed genuinely happy to be in Washington around a group of guys his age who were playing hard-nosed, hustling basketball at the time he got hurt. It’s a ways until summer, but I think the Wizards brass, and Howard himself, hope that this change of scenery will help the former All-Star mature and return to his past level of play. If his rehab goes according to plan, all of this could translate to the 29-year old being apart of the team’s talent in the future.