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Dwight Howard gets second opinion

Magic center Dwight Howard has gone to Los Angeles to get a second opinion on his ailing back and won't play Friday night against the Hawks, the team announced.

Howard sat out Orlando's victory Monday over Detroit and Tuesday's loss to Washington because of back spasms.

Howard was accompanied to L.A. by Magic physical therapist Ed Manalo.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy has said that the big man underwent an MRI and has no structural problem with his back, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

"It's not a disk problem or anything, but anybody who's been through back problems knows sometimes they resolve more quickly than others," Van Gundy said Thursday, according to the Sentinel. "We're heading down the stretch now, so as much as we'd like to get everybody together and have 'em out there and playing, we've also got to get healthy. It's a tough time."

Heading into Friday's action, the Magic were 34-24 and in sixth in the Eastern Conference playoff race. No. 4 Boston and No. 5 Atlanta have the same record, however.

The Magic have been plagued by controversy this season. Howard asked for a trade in the preseason, backed off and eventually signed a waiver of his opt-out clause. Orlando's happiness was short-lived, however, as Howard's commitment was questioned after a number of bad losses and Van Gundy said that Howard had been lobbying to have him fired.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.