Chuma Okeke admittedly was ‘very nervous’ for first NBA practice

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Nearly two years have passed since Chuma Okeke last played competitively on the court but that all changed on Friday when the former Auburn Tigers forward participated in his first practice with the Orlando Magic.

Of course, Okeke missed the entire 2019-20 season in order to rehab an ACL tear suffered in his left knee in March 2019 against North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament. He and the Magic agreed to redshirt last season to recover from his injury and not miss a year of his contract.

Okeke finally returned to the court with his new teammates as the Magic continue preparations for the 2020-21 season. Admittedly, he was a bit nervous ahead of his first practice, something he hasn’t felt since his time in college.

“I was very nervous, it has been a long time since I have been on the court,” Okeke said on a Zoom call with reporters. “After a while, I got it going a little bit but those nerves were still going throughout the whole practice. The next practice, hopefully, I should get used to everything. The last time I got nervous was probably the first or second game of my sophomore year in college.”

After such a long layover, Okeke said he is still working to get his conditioning back and his legs under him. He even recalled one play during practice when Terrence Ross blew right by him, something he wasn’t expecting.

The Magic have been using Okeke at the four on the court so far during training camp, a position that he said feels natural to him. He has been touted as a versatile player on both ends of the floor so he could eventually see time at other positions, as well.

Orlando begins preseason play on Dec. 11 vs. the Atlanta Hawks.

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