Increased Appetite Signals Return of Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard didn't have time to wait.
After missing back-to-back games with the flu -- including a loss in Milwaukee -- Howard returned to action Monday night against Atlanta, but not before a big day at the dinner table.
"I woke up at 1 a.m., and went to eat at the Waffle House. I got home and ate another meal, slept, woke up and ate again,'' Howard said before playing Monday night. "I slept some more, then ate another meal -- nine pieces of chicken, two pork chops, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese. I had ice cream and apple pie for dessert. I had to get right.''
Although Howard didn't play particularly well Monday in a loss -- 14 points, 13 rebounds and six turnovers -- his appetite certainly had returned. And the Magic were relieved to see him back.
He hasn't missed many games since coming into the NBA and earning his reputation as an ironman, even if he didn't have an iron stomach. He played in all 82 games in five of his first six seasons, making only 79 two seasons ago when he sprained his knee.
He had left the team Friday in the midst of their recent road trip, flying in a private plane from Detroit back to Orlando, spending a few hours at a local hospital emergency room, where he was given intravenous fluids.
"For two days, I couldn't eat. I couldn't do nothing but sit on the toilet,'' he said. "In the hospital, I had to wear a little, too-small gown that didn't fit around back. I'm glad to be back.''
Howard watched (on television) his teammates lose in Milwaukee Saturday night, watching Bucks center Andrew Bogut destroy backup Marcin Gortat. Bogut had a career night with 31 points and 18 rebounds.
"It could have been a lot different (with me),'' he said. "We'll see those guys a couple more times.''
Howard was one of four Magic players -- the others were Jameer Nelson, J.J.Redick and Mickael Pietrus -- who missed back-to-back games in Detroit and Milwaukee with the flu.
All returned Monday except for Nelson, who should be rejoining the team Thursday when they open a West Coast trip in Portland. The absence of Nelson -- their co-captain and point guard -- was probably why they struggled even as Howard returned.
"Absolutely (we're a different team with Dwight),'' said teammate Vince Carter. "That's obvious. He's a dominant scorer, a dominant shot blocker and a dominant rebounder. That speaks for itself. He makes the game better for everyone when he's out there.''