Jeremy Hyman | WashingtonWizards.com
With just a little over a week until training camp begins, the Wizards have already fallen victim to the dreaded injury bug. On Wednesday, the team announced that center Emeka Okafor and forward Chris Singleton will miss time with injuries.
Okafor was diagnosed with a herniated C4 cervical disc, while Singleton had surgery to repair a Jones fracture to the fifth metatarsal of his left foot.
Singleton's injury has a timeframe attached (6-8 weeks), which means he could be ready close to when the season begins at the end of October. Okafor on the other hand has no timetable, which can be more frightening.
However, Okafor was on a conference call with the media on Wednesday and sounded rather optimistic that with proper rehab he should be back to help this team at some point this season.
Here are some tweets from that call:
Okafor: First felt problem in neck a few weeks ago when playing 5x5, first thought it was neck stiffness, then had injury revealed via MRI— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) September 18, 2013
Okafor: Says there were a number of options, but as of now rehab is the best option. Will be doing manual manipulation + spine exercises— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) September 18, 2013
Okafor: "The positive signs are that I felt no numbness and felt no weakness anywhere else"— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) September 18, 2013
The Wizards will now likely look for fourth-year big man Kevin Seraphin to step up and fill the void at center until Okafor gets back. Seraphin has shown flashes of excellence over the last two years, but now needs to be more consistent and become a stronger rebounder in his fourth season. They also could move Nene to center and play either a smaller lineup, with Trevor Ariza or Otto Porter at the power forward spot, or go down the bench and look for Trevor Booker or Jan Vesely to step in at the PF spot. Whoever ends up getting the start, it will likely be a combination of these players seeing more time depending on the matchup.
If Okafor's injury does end up being long term, there is always the option of making a deal to bring in another big man. The team has a surplus of wings and could potentially make a move that would add another center to the roster.
Media Day will be held next Friday, Sep 27th, and then the team will report to George Mason for training camp beginning on Saturday, Sep 28th.