Okafor, Diogu hope to play soon

Monday, October 12, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Of the Hornets’ six offseason acquisitions, two of them – Emeka Okafor and Ike Diogu – have been kept out of preseason games due to injury. Following Monday’s practice, however, each frontcourt player sounded like he’s getting closer to making an exhibition debut for New Orleans.

Prior to boarding the team flight to Wichita, Kans., for Tuesday’s game vs. Orlando, Okafor told reporters that it’s “a possibility” he will play Saturday, when the Hornets host Indiana. The soreness Okafor has been experiencing from a toe sprain has been subsiding.

“It’s getting there,” the center said. “It’s hard for me to sit on the sideline. I want to be out there (on the court).”

Diogu said he probably will not play Tuesday or Thursday (vs. Miami in Kansas City), but is hopeful to be available by Saturday as well. The 6-foot-9 power forward participated in practice for the first time today.

“It was good to get out there and mix it up with the guys a little bit,” Diogu said. “It’s another step in the right direction.

“I’d like to play this next game… but at the same time, there’s really no rush. We’re taking all of the necessary precautions. I look at like I have a golden opportunity in front of me, so I don’t want to miss any time. It’s wide open in terms of playing time here.”