Jahlil Okafor's rookie season is over.
The 76ers power forward will undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, the team announced Friday. The Sixers will finalize the date of the procedure in the coming days. Okafor will not resume basketball activities for the next six weeks, meaning he'll miss the remaining 17 games.
"You do sort of take a deep breath and say that's not terrible, that's not bad," coach Brett Brown said of the meniscus injury. "The flip side of it is, other people will play more.
"We'll miss not having him to squeeze a little bit more out of him, let him experience a full NBA season. That's not going to happen."
The 6-foot-11, 258-pounder had missed four games heading into a loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday with what the club called an injured shin after he bumped knees with teammate Isaiah Canaan late in a loss to the Orlando Magic on Feb.
Okafor missed two preseason games in October and two games in December with soreness in the same knee. He had a CAT scan on Tuesday that revealed the tear.
"I think with the imaging that we looked at in December, it wasn't anything that we felt we needed to react on other than the way that we did," Brown said when asked how long Okafor had been playing with the injury. "Recently, when there was some soreness in his knee, that's what the testing showed. So we've reacted."
Okafor's season hasn't exactly been pain-free. The knee even bothered him while he warmed up for the Orlando game.
"At times it was uncomfortable, but it was nothing too bad where I felt I couldn't play," he said. "Different parts of the season, my knee was uncomfortable."
Okafor wore a customized brace on his right knee in the locker room Friday. It was the same one that he wore Thursday at the team's practice facility.
"For me, I was worried about what was going on with my knee," Okafor said. "I didn't know. [This is] just kind of a sigh of relief, because I was able to know exactly what was going on with my knee and that it was something minor. It was good to finally know what was going on."
He averaged 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 53 games this season, with 40 starts. Okafor scored a career-high 31 points in a loss to the Mavericks in Dallas on Feb. 21.
"When I pictured this offseason, I didn't picture myself trying to get healthy," Okafor said. "I thought I was going to be working on becoming a better player. Right now it's just focusing in and locking in on my rehab so I can make sure I'm 100 percent."