Thursday , Feb , 17 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Okafor pulls out of Rookie Challenge

Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) – Charlotte Bobcats rookie forward Emeka Okafor
announced Thursday that he will not participate in the Rookie Challenge during
All-Star weekend because of a lingering ankle sprain.

Okafor first suffered the injury against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 30
and was quickly put on the injured list and sidelined for five games.

He then re-injured the ankle against Miami on February 11. It was his first
game after being activated. Okafor, who has missed the team’s last three
contests, has been out of action for eight of Charlotte’s last nine games

“I’m disappointed that I will be unable to play during the NBA All-Star
weekend, but I want to do what’s right for myself and the Charlotte Bobcats,”
said Okafor. “I want to be completely healthy for the remainder of the regular
season to help the team as much as I possibly can.”

Okafor, who was taken with the second overall pick in the 2004 draft, is
averaging 14.8 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game this season. He
currently leads all first-year players in scoring, rebounding and minutes
played and captured the Eastern Conference’s Rookie of the Month award in both
November and December.

The 22-year-old, who helped lead Connecticut to the national championship last
season, has 27 double-doubles in 42 games, included a string of 19 straight
earlier this year.