During Tuesday night’s game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves, an incident occurred that left the entire NBA sending thoughts and prayers. When Thunder forward Nerlens Noel went up to contest a shot attempt at the rim by Andrew Wiggins, he took an accidental elbow to the face.
The blow to Noel’s face left him unconscious, and the Thunder big man wound up taking a scary fall onto the floor and hit his head hard on the ground in the process. Here’s a look at the video of the scary scene, via Bleacher Report, which shows the immediate level of concern from the players and fans in attendance.
Noel was placed on the stretcher shortly after the play happened. Just from watching the video, it’s apparent Wiggins had no ill intentions while attacking the basket and wasn’t trying to elbow the Thunder big man. Shortly after the game, Wiggins took to social media to send his thoughts and prayers to Noel.
Wiggins also spoke to the media in the locker room and addressed the play, stating that he hopes Noel is good and “gets healthy soon and come back stronger.” Along with that, he addressed the aftermath of the play which featured Thunder guard Dennis Schroder visibly angry at a few of the Timberwolves players.
Thunder center Steven Adams also addressed the play, as Erik Horne of NewsOK reported, stating that Wiggins wasn’t to blame for it and that he didn’t do anything intentionally.
“It was just a really s*** play and unfortunate that it happened,” Adams said. “Obviously, Wiggins didn’t mean to do any of that. He shouldn’t be taking any blame for that whatsoever. It’s just one of those crazy plays that happen. Fortunately they responded quite quickly, the medical staff. We felt like he was in the best hands at the time.”
Latest on Nerlens Noel
While there hasn’t been much info released on Noel’s status, ESPN’s Royce Young revealed Thunder coach Billy Donovan said the center was at OU Medical Center but had no further updates.
It’s expected there will be some type of additional update provided on Noel’s status on Wednesday, hopefully early in the day. Once any new information comes to light we’ll be sure to update this post.
Nerlens Noel’s NBA Career
Noel, who’s 24 currently, is in his fifth season in the NBA and has battled various injuries over the years. After being selected No. 6 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, he’s played for three different teams, and carved out a solid role off the bench with the Thunder.
His best single season came with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2015-16, as he averaged 11.1 points and 8.1 rebounds over 29.3 minutes per game. Through the first 38 games of the 2018-19 season, the 6-foot-11 big man has averaged 5.0 points, 4.7 rebounds while shooting 58.6 percent from the field.