The Kentucky Wildcats suffered a 19-point loss to the No. 6 Florida Gators on Tuesday night, but the deficit and notch in the loss column are the least of the team’s worries moving forward. Star freshman forward Nerlens Noel suffered an ugly knee injury in the second half.
Noel was hustled down the court and attempted to block a shot on the fast-break from Florida’s Mike Rosario, but he crumbled to the hardwood after an awkward landing,
The Wildcats staff immediately tended to Noel, who was on the ground in obvious pain. After checking out his injured knee, teammates helped carry the forward off the court while he was still screaming in pain. It was an ugly and scary injury for the freshman, who many believe was on his way to becoming a high draft pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
After the game, Kentucky head coach John Calipari did not seem very optimistic about the injury.
“I’m physically sick right now for him. What I’m hoping for is it’s not the extreme. I’m hoping it’s just a twist,” Calipari said, per Kyle Tucker of the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal.
Noel went to the hospital following the injury for medical attention.
Here is video of the play:
Let’s all hope that Noel will be okay and that this was much worse than it looked. If it was not, this is just the latest example of a college athlete risking his future for no financial compensation despite being old enough to legally hold a job — and people wonder what it was suggested that South Carolina football star Jadeveon Clowney should sit out the 2013 season to avoid injury.