Plenty of athletes have retired during the primes of their careers. And, earlier this year, Dwight Howard almost became one of them. After his doctors informed him that the herniated disk that he had in his back had caused nerve damage in one of his legs, Howard thought about calling it quits and ending his NBA career.

"I did for a couple days," he admitted recently. "When I got hurt, I lost my whole left leg, basically, from my nerves. That takes at least nine months to get that strength back. I was able to get some of it back in a couple of months. But it's always a process. I wish that it would all come back right away, but this is a great time for me to work on other parts of my game that'll make myself better and also make the team better."

Like, say, free throw shooting? Just kidding, Dwight. We make jokes, but seriously: We're glad you didn't retire. And, you know who's even happier about it than we are? Lakers fans. And, from the sound of things, they're going to be even happier about the whole situation once you get all of the strength back in your leg. So, stick with it.

RELATED: A History of Great Athletes Who Retired (By Choice) During Their Prime

[via Hang Time]