University of Kentucky center and freshman, Nerlens Noel, is out for the remainder for the season as he tore his ACL in Tuesday’s game against the Florida Gators.
According to Steve Jones of the Louisville Courier-Journal, University of Kentucky medical staff said Noel would be undergoing surgery within the next two to three weeks and rehabilitating will take approximately six to eight months.
Minor setback for a MAJOR comeback! I love you all and can't thank y'all enough for the prayers.
— Nerlens Noel (@NerlensNoel3) February 13, 2013
The 6-foot-10 center tore his ACL in the second quarter of the game when he landed awkwardly blocking Gators’ Mike Rosanio’s shot.
According to Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports, the Dagger, and MRI revealed that in fact, Noel tore his ACL in his left knee. The last image of his college run may be him carried off the floor.
The freshman was a consider a top prospect because of his tremendous ability as a blocker and rebounder. Since the NBA implemented the minimum age requirement, Noel enrolled to the University of Kentucky. Although defensively he was NBA-ready, offensively he could continue to develop at the college level.
The Wildcats had a record 17 wins, 7 losses, and found themselves back in the AP top 25 poll. The loss of Noel obviously affects Kentucky’s chances of being back-to-back repeat champions this season.
This injury may affect his draft stock, however he may still be considered a lottery pick considering how weak the draft is and considering the number of players who’ve successfully recovered from ACL injuries.
Nationally, he is leads in blocks with 106 blocks and leads the Wildcats with 50 steals. Noel averaged 24 points per game, 9.5 rebounds per game and 4.4 blocks per game. Although his injury is a setback, may still be considered the number one pick overall in the 2013 NBA draft and will remain on the top of the draft board as he recovers.