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Okafor (50) swats a lay-up attempt by Knicks guard, Raymond Felton (2) as John Wall looks on
Emeka Okafor, Washington Wizards Centre and University of Connecticut alumnus, is out indefinitely from the team roster after being diagnosed with a herniated C4 cervical disc. A statement from the 6’10 big man reflected a mood of devastation, noting that his preparation for the new season which opens October 29, 2013 is now futile. “I have worked hard over the summer and was looking forward to the start of training camp next week, so this is a disappointing and frustrating situation for me,” said Okafor. “But I have confidence that my teammates and coaches will be able to continue to take steps towards our goal of making the playoffs and that I will be able to do my part to help them once I return.” Ernie Grunfeld, Wizards President, made the announcement yesterday while lamenting the loss of the 6’10 big man and 2005 NBA Rookie of the Year. “Emeka’s professionalism and dedication to taking care of his body are among the best I have ever seen during my time in this league as a player, coach and executive and I know that he will be diligent in his efforts to return to the court as soon as possible,” said Grunfeld. “Until then, his absence will create opportunities for other players to step up and provide the rebounding and defense that Emeka normally contributes.” Okafor will commence rehabilitation, to be assisted by team doctors and specialists, in order to reduce the inflammation to the herniated disc and reverse the injury. Doctors discovered the damaged disc after an MRI when Okafor complained about a discomfort in his neck. Okafor recorded averages of 9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in 79 games for the Wizards during the 2012/2013 season. He missed two games due to the flu and the final game of the season due to a sprained right ankle. The Wizards also lost starting point guard John Wall to a knee injury that kept him sidelined for 33 games last season. Wizards missed the 2012/2013 NBA playoffs – the fifth in a row. The last time the team appeared in a playoff game was in 2008 when it was led by All-Star guard, Gilbert Arenas, but lost 4-2 to the Lebron James led Cleveland Cavaliers.

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This article was first published on 19th September 2013

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