Jahlil Okafor Injury: Updates on 76ers Star's Recovery from Knee Surgery

Scott PolacekFeatured Columnist

Philadelphia 76ers' Jahlil Okafor in action during an NBA preseason basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor has been out of the lineup since Feb. 29 with shin soreness, but now surgery to repair his knee will force him to miss the remainder of the season.

Continue for updates.

Brown Comments on Okafor's Recovery

Monday, April 4

Brett Brown told reporters Okafor will begin individual exercises on the court "sometime in May," adding the center has not been on a court since his surgery.

Okafor Undergoes Season-Ending Surgery

Tuesday, March 22

Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com noted that the 76ers announced "Okafor had an arthroscopic procedure [Tuesday] for a slight tear of the meniscus in his right knee. [He] begins rehab tomorrow." According to Tom Moore of Calkins Media, Okafor is expected to miss four-to-six weeks.

Philadelphia director of public relations Michael Preston announced on March 11 that Okafor would undergo minor arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

Okafor Injury Delivered Another Blow to Depleted Frontcourt

It's a particularly difficult blow for the 76ers with Okafor being ruled out for the season because big man Joel Embiid was already ruled out for the 2015-16 campaign before the season started.

Okafor was the third overall pick of the 2015 draft after he averaged 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds a night as a consensus First-Team All-American. He also helped lead the Duke Blue Devils to the national championship alongside his talented teammates, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow.

Thus far, he is averaging 17.5 points and seven rebounds a night in his rookie campaign.

Okafor caught Philadelphia’s eyes because of his NBA body at 6’11” and a polished offensive skill set that includes a formidable post game with impressive footwork and the ability to battle for rebounds and easy putbacks. He can also stretch the floor with a mid-range jumper and is strong enough to carve out position on the blocks.

Philadelphia is in rebuilding mode, and the young Okafor is one of the primary cogs in that plan. He has flashed moments of greatness in his rookie season, but his long-term health is far more important than any game results in 2015-16. 

The 76ers are not contending for anything this season except another favorable draft pick, but they need Okafor to develop into a star if their roster-building process is going to work. The only way he can do that is by returning to the court as a healthy contributor following this setback.