Nerlens Noel to have knee surgery Tuesday
by Kyle Tucker, USA TODAY Sports
LEXINGTON, KY. — University of Kentucky basketball star Nerlens Noel will have his torn left anterior cruciate ligament repaired Tuesday in Florida by the famed Dr. James Andrews, the school announced Monday. Recovery is expected to take 6-8 months.
Noel, who injured the knee in a Feb. 12 game at the University of Florida, said in a news release that he decided to have the surgery now, during UK’s spring break, “so I wouldn’t miss as much class.”
“I wish all my teammates luck in the SEC Tournament,” he continued, “and look forward to getting back to Lexington as soon as I can to begin my rehab and finish my school work.”
The school said a member of its medical staff will be present for the surgery and help coordinate Noel’s return to Lexington. But having Andrews, who has operated on several high-profile athletes, most recently NFL Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III, made sense for many reasons.
“Due to the unique timetable for Nerlens’ recovery period in regards to the NBA Draft deadline, the University of Kentucky and Noel’s family thought it was in his best interest to have his surgery performed by Dr. Andrews in Florida,” associate athletic director DeWayne Peevy said in the release. “Being one of the few surgeons that NBA franchises use regularly, Dr. Andrews’ involvement will allow the NBA personnel to have the most updated post-surgery information available in regards to Nerlens’ medical condition. Our medical staff and administrators are not permitted to talk to NBA teams and Nerlens is not allowed to be examined by the NBA, prior to the draft, without jeopardizing his eligibility.”
Which begs the question: Could Noel be back at UK next season? Wildcats coach John Calipari addressed that Monday on the Dan Patrick Show, saying Noel will need a couple of months of rehab before making that decision.
“I told him the greatest thing for him is, because he has the insurance, he’s fine,” Calipari told Patrick. “If they said he could never play again, he’d be an instant millionaire. If he goes, I think he’d still be one of the top three … [For more on Kentucky star Nerlens Noel to have knee surgery Tuesday, click here.]