Emeka Okafor Reportedly Pursuing NBA Comeback After 4-Year Absence

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10:  Emeka Okafor #50 of the Washington Wizards attempts a foul shot against the Miami Heat at the Verizon Center on April 10, 2013 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Emeka Okafor, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft and the 2004-05 Rookie of the Year, hasn't played since the 2012-13 season. He is looking to change that.

Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press reported Wednesday that Okafor was "cleared to return to action, is working out and is determined to return to the NBA." He added Okafor was sidelined with a herniated disk in his neck and hasn't played since he was a member of the Washington Wizards in 2012-13.

Okafor was a force out of Connecticut in his first season with 15.1 points, 10.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game with the Charlotte Bobcats. He remained with Charlotte through the 2008-09 campaign and averaged more than 13 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks a night all five seasons with the team.

While he was past his prime in his final year with the Wizards, he was still a productive piece of the frontcourt rotation, averaging 9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

What's more, time away may have left him fresher. Krawczynski wrote Okafor "still feels like he has plenty left in the tank" even though he will be 35 in September.

It would be unrealistic for an interested team to expect him to come back and put up the numbers he did in his prime with Charlotte, but the demand for rim protection is always there in the NBA. If the 6'10" Okafor remains healthy and is generally fresh, he can slide into a frontcourt rotation and patrol the boards even at 35 years old.