Nerlens Noel Out For Season With Torn ACL

02/13/2013 12:42 PM

UPDATED 2/13/2013 3:25 p.m.

Nerlens Noel’s career as a Kentucky Wildcat is over. According to UK officials, Noel tore his ACL during Kentucky’s 69-52 loss against Florida Tuesday night. Noel will have surgery within the next two to three weeks. Recovery time is typically six to eight months.

After the announcement, Noel tweeted out “Minor setback for a MAJOR comeback! I love you all and can’t thank y’all enough for the prayers.”

Head coach John Calipari put out a statement through University of Kentucky that said:

  • “I’ve been coaching for 22 years and this is the first injury we’ve had of this kind during the season, which makes it even more devastating. I met with Nerlens earlier today. The meeting was really positive, and I loved his attitude. The way he is already dealing with this injury lets me know that he is going to come back stronger than ever. The good news is he is insured, so he would have been fine even if the injury would have been worse. Obviously this is not a career-ending injury and it’s one that athletes bounce back from all the time.”

Noel injured his knee Tuesday in No. 25 Kentucky’s 69-52 loss to No. 7 Florida when he landed awkwardly and then slammed into the post after chasing down Florida guard Mike Roasrio on a fast break and blocking the shot.

Five of Noel’s teammates, Julius Mays, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Kyle Wiltjer, helped carry Noel off the court and into the locker room. X-rays taken at a Gainesville hospital came back negative, but an MRI Wednesday morning revealed a torn ACL.

After the game, Calipari said he was physically sick thinking of the injury.

“What I’m hoping is it’s not the extreme. Hoping it’s some sort of twist, but again, we don’t know,” Calipari said. “He was yelling and screaming, so that’s why I stayed [on the court with him]. It’s unfortunate. We just all as a team got together and prayed for him for a minute and then sent him to the hospital. I didn’t see much. They just said it looked ugly. I don’t know. We’ll have to see.”

One player who saw the whole injury unfold was Florida center Patric Young, who trailed Noel on the fast break and helped him to the floor right after the injury occurred. Young said Noel’s “leg was wobbly, knee looked dislocated. It was gruesome.”

On the season, Noel averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.4 blocks, and 2.1 steals.


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