- Associated Press - Monday, January 31, 2011

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Hornets officials say center Emeka Okafor will not play on Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards because of a strained oblique muscle.

Okafor, the Hornets’ leading rebounder at 10.1 per game, doubled over in pain holding his left hip area with 1:56 left in the first half of New Orleans’ loss at Phoenix on Sunday night and did not return to the game.

The Hornets did not practice on Monday, but spokesman Dennis Rogers confirms that Okafor has been ruled out against Washington, marking the first time in 306 games that he will not be able to suit up.

Okafor also has averaged 11.1 points and 1.8 blocks per game this season as the Hornets have exceeded expectations and climbed firmly into playoff contention in the Western Conference.

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