Wizards' Emeka Okafor out indefinitely with neck injury

The Washington Wizards announced yesterday that center Emeka Okafor is out indefinitely due to a neck injury. A recent MRI diagnosed the ailment as a herniated cervical disc in Okafor's neck, and it's unclear how long the injury will sideline the Wizards' center, according to J. Michael of CSN Washington.

Okafor described the injury and why he's optimistic despite the diagnosis during a conference call with reporters yesterday:

"Felt it a couple weeks ago after playing 5-on-5," Emeka Okafor said in a conference call. "At first I didn't think it was anything to serious, that I was just having neck stiffness. Some time went by, it wasn't getting better, I had a (MRI) picture taken. That's what it was. The best thing was to just rehab. There were a number of options and I decided rehab is the best way to go with this thing. Everyone's pretty optimistic that it dissolves with therapy. As far as a timeline, it's indefinite at this point. The positive are that I had no loss (of strength) or weakness. ... The onset is the worst of this. Things are getting better day by day. I'm not in any serious discomfort. It's just going through the proper steps to make sure it heals properly."
The injury generally doesn't require surgery, and Okafor will begin rehabbing his neck in an attempt to reduce the inflammation. Okafor is heading into the final year of his contract which will pay him $14.5 million during the 2013-14 season.

If the Wizards are without Okafor for any stretch it will be considered a huge loss, as Michael notes the team isn't deep in the low post. Washington would then be looking at giving free agent acquisition Al Harrington and returning players Kevin Seraphin and Jan Vesely larger roles.

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