Noel scheduled for MRI Wednesday
by USA TODAY Sports, USA TODAY
University of Kentucky basketball fans continue to wait on word of the severity of the knee injury that sent star freshman center Nerlens Noel crashing to the floor and yelling in pain Tuesday night during a loss at Florida.
UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy said Wednesday that results of X-rays taken on Noel on Tuesday night in Gainesville after the Wildcats’ 69-52 loss were negative and that he was scheduled to have an MRI Wednesday morning in Lexington, with further updates to be released when they are available.
Noel flew home with the team Tuesday night.
Coach John Calipari’s weekly radio show is Wednesday night, so he might discuss Noel’s injury then.
Against the No. 6 Gators, UK (17-7, 8-3 Southeastern Conference) had its five-game winning streak, but the loss of a game seemed secondary compared with the injury to Noel.
Noel was hurt after he sprinted and jumped to block Florida’s Mike Rosario’s breakaway layup try, appearing to land at the basket support, and there were gruesome images and video replays of Noel’s left knee bending as he landed awkwardly.
He crumpled to the floor and groaned in pain for several minutes.
“His leg was wobbly, knee looked dislocated,” Florida’s Patric Young told the Palm Beach Post. “It was gruesome. I don’t want to think about it.”
Other members of UK’s team carried Noel off the court before returning to finish the game.
Guard Julius Mays didn’t remember Noel saying any parting words as he was carried off.
“We said a prayer for him,” forward Kyle Wiltjer said. “Hope he’s all right.”
Calipari and the players said Tuesday night that their concerns were only with Noel’s health, not the potential effect playing without him could have.
Missing Noel, a prime candidate for national defensive player of the year, for an extended period of time would certainly hurt a team battling to solidify its spot in the NCAA Tournament.
He is No. 1 nationally with 106 blocked shots and leads the team with 50 steals.
If Noel is to miss time, it would presumably lead to a more critical role for UK’s other freshman center, Willie Cauley-Stein.
Steve Jones also writes for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal
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