Sixers' Jahlil Okafor to play against Portland Trail Blazers

PORTLAND, Ore. -- 76ers center Jahlil Okafor is scheduled to play in Thursday night’s game against the Trail Blazers at the Moda Center.

Okafor, who participated in Thursday's shootaround, missed the last two games because of soreness in his right knee.  If he doesn't have any setbacks, he'll start alongside T.J. McConnell, Nik Stauskas, Robert Covington, and Dario Saric.

Okafor said he's looking forward to playing with his teammates and contributing against the Blazers.

"I think we all should expect there will be a fatigue factor that creeps in quicker than most guys that will be starting," coach Brett Brown said of Okafor. "So I have to be mindful of probably short, sharp durations as far as minute segments.

"I think five minutes, that's sort of the number that's most on my mind as far as when his effectiveness starts to go backwards at first."

Brown said the Sixers don't have a set number of minutes for Okafor to play against the Blazers.  

He has been dealing with knee soreness since having surgery on March 22, 2016 to repair the meniscus in the knee. The injury cost the NBA all-rookie selection the final 23 games of last season.

He has played only 984 minutes this season, because of being buried behind Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel and the knee soreness. That’s down from the 1,591 minutes he played last season, and that campaign ended on Feb. 28, 2016.

So far, he has missed 20 games because of coach's decisions, illness or injury.

He missed five games because of right-knee soreness, three with a stomach flu, two for rest, and one for hamstring tightness. The other nine games he didn't see action because of his spot on the depth chart.

This season, Okafor became the regular starter on Feb. 24.  That’s because Embiid suffered a season-ending meniscus tear and bone bruise in his left knee, and Noel was traded to the Dallas Mavericks.

Okafor said sitting out the rest of the season to rest his knee is not an option.

"We just rest and do treatment whenever we think is necessary,"  he said, "and just go from there."

He said icing the knee and strengthening his quadriceps, and a lot of compression on the knee are all part of the treatment he's receiving.

Follow and contact 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter and on Instagram at PompeyOnSixers.

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