UK freshman Nerlens Noel out for season with ACL tear


UK freshman forward Nerlens Noel on the ground after falling during the second half of the University of Kentucky vs. University of Florida men’s basketball game at the O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fl., on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. UK lost 69-52. Photo by Tessa Lighty


Staff report | @KyKernelSports

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UK Athletics announced Wednesday that freshman Nerlens Noel will be out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL after bending his left knee in Tuesday’s game at Florida.

According to a news release, UK medical staff said Noel will undergo surgery in two to three weeks. His timetable for recovery is estimated at six to eight months.

UK Athletics said Wednesday morning that Noel was to have an MRI exam after getting X-rays Tuesday night at the University of Florida’s Shands Hospital.

The injury was suffered while Noel was blocking a Florida shot in the second half Tuesday’s 69-52 loss.

Noel has tallied 106 blocks this year for UK and 4.4 blocks per game, stats in which he leads the nation. He also averaged 10.5 points per game.

“We all, as a team, got together and prayed for him for a minute,” UK head coach John Calipari said in the postgame press conference. “I didn’t see much. I just saw it looked ugly.”

Calipari released a statement Wednesday after Noel’s MRI.

“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,” Calipari said. “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 tweeted about the injury Wednesday as well.

“Minor setback for a MAJOR comeback! I love you all and can’t thank y’all enough for the prayers,” he said via his account, @NerlensNoel3.