Noel Injury Will Impact The Draft

The worst fears Tuesday night became reality Wednesday afternoon, when the University of Kentucky announced that freshman power forward-center Nerlens Noel tore a ligament in his left knee in the loss at Florida and is done for the season.

The NBA impact is that the contender for the No. 1 pick is also probably out of the 2013 draft. Noel could still choose to come out and would go in the lottery, maybe even the top half of the lottery given the underwhelming group of prospects, but the bad news could prompt him to stay in school, prove to executives and scouts in 2013-14 he is healthy, and turn pro in a year.

Either way, the top of the ’13 draft board just became more of a game of darts while wearing blindfolds, which is saying something considering the level of uncertainty that existed before as teams privately acknowledged this was a good year to get as far away from the top pick as possible.

Two wings, Ben McLemore of Kansas and Shabazz Muhammad of UCLA, become the odds-on favorite — for the moment — for No. 1. UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett is also getting mentioned by front offices. If a team has a pressing need at point guard, Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State prominently enters the conversation.

The biggest implications of the Noel fallout? Indiana’s Cody Zeller goes from facing a lot of criticism from talent evaluators – no real improvement in his game, a safe pick for a solid career but no clear path to stardom – to arguably the best big-man prospect available. That could mean a move of several spots forward come June 27, even with the concerns and questions whether he is able to play center in the pros or will be a power forward.

Noel hurt the knee when he landed awkwardly going for a block in the second half of the game at Florida. He was on the ground in obvious pain for several minutes before being carried to the locker room and going to a Gainsville, Fla., for X-rays that showed no bone damage. He returned to Kentucky with the rest of the team and underwent a different procedure Wednesday that detected the torn anterior cruciate ligament.

He will undergo surgery in two to three weeks, the school said. Recovery time is estimated at six to eight months.

12 Comments

  1. Crazygirl992 says:

    I hope noel can come back stronger and fully bounce back, also sorta hoping that he’ll fall to whatever pick that the pelicans get so we can see an epic defensive line-up of Anthony Davis and Narlens Noel!

  2. dattebayo says:

    Maynor, Rubio, Rose, Shumpert, Davis, Rush, Budinger (torn meniscus), Howard, Williams, Rondo, Barbosa.
    Thats’ 10 ACL tears in 2 seasons, and the season isn’t even over yet.

    Just a question, do all ACL tears generally bring the same amount of pain and knee instability? Because it’s amazing that Rondo could actually play with a tear in his ACL, while several other athletes can’t even put weight on their knee, let alone walk on their own.

  3. zgillet says:

    We need to be able to have a surgery to make ACLs indestructible.

  4. Shame those great players

  5. clark says:

    probably the design of shoes this days,

  6. Ted says:

    Barbosa also tore his ACL

  7. michael says:

    don’t forget about rose too

  8. GSW Man says:

    Rondo, Lou, and now Noel too? Freaking ACLs man, how do they work?

  9. steppx says:

    Truth is Cody and Plumlee are fours. the only true centers are Noel, Olynyk, Len and Cauley stein. In the league today, guys like larry sanders play NON SPECIFIC big. They arent centers though…….sanders is a four really. I mean fifteen years ago Cousins was a big four. Asik, dwight, and Chandler are fives. And in this draft its clearly not the skill set that Plumee or Cody have. But on some teams, so much small ball is played …like denver….that faried is effectively a five. Exvept its a meaningless term because thats not what traditional centers do. Ok………these things go in cycles though.