Appearing on camera for the first time since he underwent back surgery April 20,
"I've never been a quitter my whole life," Howard told the celebrity gossip website TMZ as he walked back from a rehabilitation session in Beverly Hills, Calif.
"I've played through many injuries. This is just one that I can't play through, and I would never quit on my team. I would never quit on my fans. I would never quit on anybody, my coach, whoever it is. I've never been a quitter. For people to say that, it hurt."
Howard also volunteered that he has spoken with Magic coach Stan Van Gundy "a bunch of times since the playoffs have started, what I see from my view just watching the game."
That would be surprising considering that Howard was said to be incensed that Van Gundy, in response to a direct question, said on April 5 that he had heard from the "top" of the Magic organization that Howard wanted him fired.
After the Magic’s practice today in Orlando, Van Gundy said he had reached out to Howard either right before or right after Game 2 of the team’s playoff series against the
"He's bored to death because he can't really do anything," Van Gundy said. "He's sitting in a motel and doing his rehab, and the rehab, it's not like you're out running three miles or anything. You're starting slow. So he's bored more than anything."
General Manager Otis Smith visited Howard in California on Tuesday, and both Smith and Magic CEO
As Howard walked away from the TMZ cameraman, Howard said, "We all we got."
Howard said he feels "a little sad that I can't be in Orlando" with his teammates.
"I feel like I'm in jail right now," Howard said.