Ex-NBA center still plans comeback after heavy neck injury


emeka-okaforEmeka Okafor hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2012-2013 NBA season, but the former center is of interest to a number of NBA teams, who search for additional frontcourt help.

Okafor, according to ESPN, is considering to delay his NBA comeback due to a neck injury.

The NBA sources said he will wait for the next season.

Sources told ESPN.com that Okafor, who missed all of last season after suffering a herniated disk in his neck, is leaning toward waiting until the summer before committing to a new team to give himself more time to continue strength and conditioning work.

Okafor, 32, is “healthy,” according to one source, but is reluctant to rush back in 2014-2015.

Sources say that numerous teams with a need for additional size and rim protection – Cleveland, Miami and Dallas among them – had interest in Okafor if he made himself available via free agency at some point this season as originally expected.

Okafor averaged 9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds in 26.0 minutes per game for the Washington Wizards in 2012-13. The Wizards, knowing he was likely out for the entire 2013-14 campaign, used the defensive-minded big man’s $14.5 million expiring contract just days before the start of the 2013-14 to acquire Marcin Gortat from Phoenix.

Okafor’s career numbers are impressive: the big man played for the Charlotte (New Orleans) Hornets almost his entire career, and spent one season with Washington. He averaged double-figures in scoring and rebounds in his first 5 seasons in the NBA.

Okafor, so far, played in 590 NBA games (started 584), averaging 12.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg and 1.7 bpg in 31.7 mpg.

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