"The game has evolved and like a lot of other sports where attention is now being given to protect players, the NBA is interested in doing so as well. I don't know if they will review our concerns, but [hard fouls] have resulted in injury to one of our players."
Here's the rub, as they say in the shoulder business: He's probably going to get hurt again. And if you think the Lakers have finally found success with Howard out of the lineup, I might have some Lakers playoff tickets to sell you.
The Lakers were cruising to a win in Phoenix when Howard reinjured his shoulder and then lost. In the last two wins, the opposition has attacked the rim as they would while doing layup drills before the game.
"When Dwight is in there, they think twice about going to the rim,'' Bryant said. "They'll just shoot the ball to the ceiling hoping it goes in.''
Unfortunately, Howard is more than likely going to get hurt again. When he's on offense, he takes the ball low and tries to explode upward to the basket.
To stop him, and send him to the free-throw line, defenders like to tomahawk his arms as he brings the ball up. And ouch.
"I'm worried,'' said Bryant about the possibility of Howard getting hurt again, "because we need everybody out there playing in rhythm with 30-some games left.
"But you get hit in the shoulder like that,'' said Bryant, who has his own shoulder problems in the past, "and it's just going to go dead. And it's going to be like that for a while.''
But Howard is supposed to be Superman, or so we were told.
"The needle was kind of bent,'' joked Howard about the doctor's attempt to inject his shoulder.
But in addition to his shoulder, Howard said he's still on the mend from back surgery and has lost his legs.
He said the nerves in his legs were shot because of his back injury and recovery and they will need time to regenerate.
"I need a good summer of work,'' he said.
Summer might come early for the Lakers the way they are playing against some of the league's lowliest teams.
"The most important thing is to get rest and realize this is still the first half of the season,'' he said, his math a little off. "I know we're trying to make the playoffs, but I believe with what we have in the locker room we can still win.''
We spent the next 15 minutes arguing about that.
Howard is known for wanting to please people, although right now it would probably be hard to convince D'Antoni of that.
But it's the reason he stayed in Orlando at last year's trading deadline and why he said he now sits frustrated.
"It's tough to play at 70% with the Lakers,'' he said in acknowledging the criticism he's received for not being as dominant as he is when healthy.
"No matter what anyone says, I want to be out there, but I can't play one-handed.''
As for D'Antoni, he's now questioning Howard's toughness, after already alienating Pau Gasol.
I wonder who is next.