WILDWOOD CREST, N.J. -- There will be no cheesesteaks for Jahlil Okafor.
This summer Okafor has been focusing on his health, and that goes beyond his rehabbing right knee. He has made a serious commitment to his diet, too, by going "mostly vegan."
The results are noticeable. The 6-foot-11 Okafor is down to 258 pounds, 20 pounds less than his weight entering training camp last year.
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"I've cut out dairy, so that's cheese, chocolate, stuff like that," Okafor said Thursday at the Sixers Shore Tour in Wildwood Crest, N.J. "But every now and then I still might eat some fish."
Okafor changed how he starts his day. Now, his uncle prepares a meal out of a vegan cookbook for him each morning. Okafor likes the recipe options so he doesn't "get bored going vegan."
"I feel lighter, I feel great," he said. "I've been taking my body seriously, my health seriously, what I eat very seriously. So I think it's going to pay off."
Okafor is hoping for a healthy NBA season after his first two were cut short by injuries. He underwent season-ending right knee surgery his rookie year and missed the last 11 games of last season because of right knee soreness.
Okafor said he currently does not have any basketball-activity restrictions and can play 5-on-5. His goal is to stay on the court for his third season.
"Just being able to hopefully play 82 games, just the experience that comes along with that," he said. "[I] hope I can get into some type of groove."
A groove has been hard to find for Okafor. Last season he faced trade talks and inconsistent playing time. His roles varied from a starter to a backup to not playing at all. This season the Sixers once again have to sort out their frontcourt. Richaun Holmes has made a case for playing time and the team added veteran Amir Johnson over the summer.
"I'm not sure [of my role]," Okafor said. "We haven't had all the guys together yet … When we all start training camp, we'll all figure that out."
In the meantime, Okafor will continue to follow his disciplined offseason changes in preparation for what could be a turnaround year for the Sixers.
"I think it's going to be a lot of fun," Okafor said of the upcoming season. "I don't want to put anything out there what we're going to do, but we have a lot of talent. We have to stay healthy and be patient. Everything's not going to happen all at once, but we have all the pieces in order to do that."