The Philadelphia 76ers have been without former top-five pick Joel Embiid since the team drafted him back in 2014. Multiple leg injuries have derailed the big man’s career.
So when we hear about another lower-body injury to yet another young Sixers big man, we have to take note.
That’s exactly what happened on Friday after the team announced rookie center Jahlil Okafor will be sidelined for at least the next six weeks with a torn meniscus in his right knee:
Sixers just announced Jahlil Okafor will undergo surgery to repair torn meniscus in right knee and be forced to sit out at least six weeks
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 11, 2016
With only a month left in the season, it stands to reason Okafor won’t be back this year.
In what has been an often up-and-down rookie season for the former Duke standout, he’s averaging 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the field.
Those are some pretty good numbers for a rookie big man. They also signify that Okafor should be prepared to take that next step in 2016-17.
The good news surrounding the timeline Philadelphia posted is that the tear doesn’t seem to be incredibly significant. If it were, Okafor would be sidelined much longer than six-plus weeks.
It remains to be seen whether this will have an impact on his ability to take part in off-season workouts. Though, it’s safe to say Philadelphia will play this injury close to the vest.
It simply can’t afford to rush Okafor back on to the court while still dealing with an injured Embiid.