LOS ANGELES Juwan Howard, desperately missed in the Rockets frontcourt, will not be back this season, team sources confirmed today.
Howard suffered a viral infection in his heart that will bar him from physical exertion for four to six months, according to sources speaking on the condition of anonymity. Howard, who had been out with a sprained right knee, had hoped to come back from that injury for the playoffs, but doctors told him Monday and again today that though his condition has been remedied he will not be cleared to play this season.
Howard was unavailable for comment. His agent, David Falk, did not return phone calls this week. Rockets officials would not comment, citing privacy laws.
Howard had been battling the flu since March 11 and left the Rockets game March 22 against the Heat because of flu symptoms. Early March 25, he developed symptoms of viral myocarditis, including heart palpitations, mild chest pains and fever, and was taken to the hospital.
He was released with a heart monitor, but he now has no symptoms and no longer needs the monitor. He is not taking any medication.
This month keeps getting worse and worse.... ...We're gonna miss Howard, and I hate to say it...but If he retired, I would be the least bit surprised.