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Posted at 10:29 AM ET, 06/25/2012

Emeka Okafor says his health is fine

Emeka Okafor played basketball last week for the first time since February, but the newly acquired Wizards big man said it wasn’t a cause for concern.


(Issac Baldizon - NBAE/Getty Images)
His health is fine, said Okafor. And the left knee injury that caused him to miss the season’s final 39 games was simply a result of the lockout shortened season. He said his rehabilitation has been a “progression” and expects to be ready to go by the middle of July.

The Wizards acquired Okafor along with Trevor Ariza from New Orleans in exchange for Rashard Lewis and the 46th overall pick in next week’s draft.

“It’s just one of those wacky things that happened,”Okafor said at Friday’s introductory news conference. “It happened all around the league last year. I’m not concerned about it.”

Okafor has started at least 72 games five times in his eight-year career, and he said he expects the same in Washington. Head coach Randy Wittman said there would be open competition for the starting lineup and said nothing is guaranteed.

Okafor suffered a debilitating right ankle injury that limited him to just 26 games in his second season in Charlotte and a left calf strain forced him to miss 15 games in his third season. He has mostly been durable, with a streak of 306 consecutive games played before straining his left oblique two seasons ago.

The Hornets were never specific about the severity of Okafor’s injury last season, referring to it as “a sore left knee.” He had swelling in the knee that needed to be drained at least once.

“By mid next-month I’ll be full-time, ready to go,” Okafor said. “I’ve never missed any time for my knee, never had any type of issues with my knee. Played three and a half year straight without missing a game.”

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By Matt Breen  |  10:29 AM ET, 06/25/2012

 
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