Dwight Howard patiently sat at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic hoping to see Kobe Bryant.

They didn't talk, considering Howard said he arrived Saturday moments before Bryant's surgery to treat a torn Achilles tendon the Lakers estimate will sideline him for six to nine months.

The circumstances differ, but Howard said he empathizes with Bryant.

Howard suffered a herniated disk in his back with the Orlando Magic last April, and it sidelined him for the remainder of the 2011-12 season. He returned to the court six months following back surgery.

"I know exactly how he feels," Howard said of Bryant. "When he's at the top of his game and has a major injury like that, all the questions start to come from everyone on what will he be when he comes back."

Howard experienced that this season. He is averaging 16.9 points and 12.6 rebounds, his lowest numbers since the 2005-06 campaign. He has nursed a torn labrum in his right shoulder and has admitted he hasn't maintained the same energy level and explosiveness than in past seasons.

"All that stuff runs through your head," Howard said. "I can relate to everything he's feeling right now with the pain, the hurt and wishing he could play."

Howard had progressed, though, entering Sunday's game against the San Antonio Spurs and averaged 20.2 points on 67.9 percent shooting in the previous five contests. He also addressed his teammates following Saturday's practice about overcoming the void stemmed from Bryant's absence.