Thursday , Apr , 07 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Rockets’ Howard won’t return this season

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Houston Rockets forward Juwan Howard announced
Thursday that he will miss the remainder of the season due to a viral
infection in his heart.

Howard had been sidelined with a sprained right knee and was hoping to return
for the playoffs. He said his knee is “responding well to treatment,” but an
unrelated infection — viral myocarditis — will keep him from rejoining the
team.

“This condition caused some irregularities to my heart rhythm, which have
subsequently subsided and returned to normal,” Howard said. “However, this
will prevent me from participating in conditioning workouts and games for the
next few months. On the advice of my doctors, I will take a conservative
approach for resuming my regular training regimen in order to ensure a full
recovery so that I can be ready for the start of next season. My physicians
have reassured me that there should be no long-term consequences.”

The 32-year-old Howard had been suffering from flu-like symptoms since March
11, and he left a game against the Miami Heat on March 22.

Howard first developed symptoms of viral myocarditis, an inflammation of the
muscular walls of the heart, on March 25. He was taken to the hospital where
he was treated for heart palpitations, mild chest pains and fever.

Howard was released with a heart monitor shortly after, but is currently not
experiencing any of the symptoms and no longer needs the heart monitor.

“Obviously, this has been a very difficult and frustrating time for my family
and me,” Howard said. “We would very much appreciate your help in respecting
our privacy regarding this matter as we move forward.”

Originally selected by Washington with the fifth overall pick in the 1994
draft, Howard averaged 9.6 points and 5.7 rebounds in his first season with
the Rockets.

He joined Houston last offseason after being involved in the blockbuster trade
that also saw All-Star guard Tracy McGrady head from Orlando to the Rockets.

In his 11-year NBA career, Howard has posted 17.2 points and 7.3 boards per
game in stints with Washington, Dallas and Denver.

HOU