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News » Okafor may miss three games in preseason

Okafor may miss three games in preseason

Okafor may miss three games in preseasonOn Tuesday, when Byron Scott put his players through the first phase of extensive running drills, New Orleans Hornets center Emeka Okafor said he felt a twinge in his right foot.

Unable to shake it, Okafor took himself out of the drill. Now after missing his third consecutive day of contact work, Hornets officials said Thursday that Okafor has a sprained second toe on his right foot that likely will keep him out of the first three preseason games.

Although it's considered a mild sprain, Okafor will be limited to walk-throughs at practice for the next two weeks, Scott said.

"It's part of the game; nothing serious, very minor," Okafor said. "I'm going to be limited in the next couple of weeks, and I will just go from there."

Scott said the injury will set back Okafor's conditioning and delay his adjustment to playing alongside point guard Chris Paul and the rest of the starters for the first time, but it's no big deal.

"It's early in training camp," Scott said. "We will just try to get him ready for (the season opener) Oct. 28."

Okafor, a 6-foot-11, 255-pound center, was the team's biggest offseason acquisition this summer. He was acquired in a trade with the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for Tyson Chandler.

Still remembering Chandler's injury problems, Scott said they cringe any time one of their players gets a toe injury.

Last season the Oklahoma City Thunder nullified a trade involving Chandler after he failed his physical due to a pre-existing big toe injury.

In May, Chandler required surgery on both his right big toe and ankle. He also required surgery on the right big toe in 2006.

"Well, this one is not a big toe -- so that's a good thing," Scott said.

In addition to Okafor, Ike Diogu is expected to miss the first three preseason games with a strained left knee that he injured this summer.

Diogu was the Hornets' top free-agent acquisition and is expected to battle with Darius Songaila for playing time at backup power forward.

"It's a priority for them to get healthy and back on the court," small forward Peja Stojakovic said. "Otherwise, it doesn't make sense for them or us to have guys push them while they are hurt."

Near the end of Thursday's practice, Okafor and Diogu walked through offensive sets with Morris Peterson, Bobby Brown and James Posey.

It probably wasn't what Okafor had in mind when he said at Monday's media day that he couldn't wait to get started scrimmaging.

He has not missed a regular-season game since the 2006-07 season.

"It's about repetition, and I want to be out there to get a feel for the offense and get a feel for my teammates, whether it's walking or running," Okafor said. "It's always important to make sure that cohesiveness is still there.

"I don't like missing games. I take the game very seriously, and if I can't go, I can't go. But if it's the smallest chance that I can, I'll be out there."

. . . . . . .

John Reid can be reached at or 504.826-3407.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 2, 2009


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