Jahlil Okafor made his New Orleans Pelicans debut Sunday night in his hometown of Chicago and played pretty well in his 17 minutes of action. The big man scored eight points on 4-of-7 shooting against the Bulls, but his night didn’t end well.
Okafor sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter and did not return to the game. The former No. 3 overall pick underwent an X-ray at the United Center and will have an MRI on Monday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Okafor was seen in the arena concourse on crutches.
Pelicans’ Jahlil Okafor exits the United Center with crutches and an ice pack around right ankle. pic.twitter.com/svexvD960D
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) October 1, 2018
This is a tough break for Okafor, who lost a ton of weight this offseason and came into camp with a noticeably toned physique. Okafor signed a two-year contract with the Pelicans in August. Just $50,000 of the two-year deal is guaranteed. Okafor’s contract has a partial guarantee in the first year and a team option for year two.
Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2015 out of Duke, Okafor was traded to the Brooklyn Nets last season. He appeared in 26 games with the Nets and averaged 6.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game while shooting 56.6 percent from the field in roughly 13 minutes a game. Okafor’s best season in the NBA came during his rookie year with the Sixers when he posted 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
The Pelicans lost DeMarcus Cousins to the Golden State Warriors in free agency, so they were in need of some frontcourt help. Okafor had a nice dunk against Bulls rookie Wendell Carter Jr. and was getting up and down the floor well. Hopefully, the ankle injury isn’t too serious and he’s back out on the floor soon.