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Wizards lose Emeka Okafor indefinitely to neck injury

Sep 18, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

Emeka Okafor, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist AP

Ugh. Just, ugh.

The Washington Wizards will be without Emeka Okafor — who was expected to start up front with Nene — indefinitely due to a herniated cervical disc in his neck, reports J. Michael at CSNWashington.com. Okafor had been working out at the Wizards facilities, had a pain in his neck, so the doctors did an MRI and found this.

“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 in a statement released by the team confirming the injury. “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.”

And he does plan to return, according to multiple reports (surgery is not expected to be needed). Okafor is set to make $14.5 million this season in the final year of his contract. Last season Okafor averaged 9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds a game in the paint and played solid ball for the Wizards.

Earlier in the day the Wizards lost forward Chris Singleton for 6-8 weeks due to a broken bone in his foot, which required surgery.

Okafor is a bigger blow on the court of the two injuries (which follow a couple seasons of injuries for this team). The Wizards were counting on Okafor to play a lot at the four and spell Nene — who has battled his own injuries in recent years — at center. This is going to mean that Kevin Seraphin, Al Harrington, Jan Vesely and Trevor Booker are going to need to step up and fill the gap. Those names cannot make the Wizards feel better about their playoff chances.

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