The Oklahoma City Thunder (25-14) are currently hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves (19-21) in what’s been a relatively close and competitive game that could have possible future implications in a very tight Western Conference.
Unfortunately, during the third quarter of the head-to-head matchup, the Thunder’s big man, Nerlens Noel, suffered a devastating injury that rendered the former sixth overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft unconscious and forced the Thunder’s medical team to cart the seven-footer off the court and directly to the nearest medical facility. Take a look at the footage for yourself in the video provided above.
In the clip, Nerlens Noel can be seen meeting Andrew Wiggins at the apex of Wiggins’ attempted layup. Unfortunately, for Noel, Wiggins’ left arm came down making contact with Noel’s head during the play which rendered the Thunder’s frontcourt defender unconscious leaving him unable to protect his head from hitting the hardwood after the play.
The Aftermath of Nerlens Noel’s Nasty Fall
Instantaneously, Noel could be seen visibly unconscious breathing extremely hard and unable to move his appendages from his defensive stance. The game then took an extended intermission at the 5:16 mark of the third quarter so that Noel could be properly placed on a gurney and escorted out of the building.
Following this moment, Wiggins took his place at the foul line to shoot two free throws. As of right now, there is no update on Nerlens Noel’s current health status. The clip of Nerlens Noel being carted off in a deafeningly silent Chesapeake Energy Arena can be seen above.
Nerlens Noel’s Journey This Season
Throughout Nerlens Noel’s six-year NBA career, he’s been riddled with injuries. Matter of fact, the former Kentucky Wildcat entered the 2013 NBA Draft after suffering a severely torn ACL in February 2013, only to be selected high in the first round of the draft as the sixth pick of the New Orleans Hornets but, was almost instantaneously traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.
In three seasons with the Sixers, Noel only played a total of 171 games with the franchise before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks where he only played 52 games in two seasons due to injury. Since then, Noel has found a home in Oklahoma City where he is currently reacclimating himself into the pace of today’s game in his first season with the organization.
This season, Nerlens Noel is currently averaging a total of 5.0 points per game on 56.8% shooting from the field while snatching a total of 4.7 rebounds per game in just 13.9 minutes per game. The Thunder organization appears to be a good fit for the 24-year-old big man with Steven Adams starting ahead of him and possibly providing him with some on-and-off court mentorship.
At one point in time, Nerlens Noel was prophesized to be the leaders of the future generation of big men in the NBA but since has been somewhat forgotten due to his inability to stay healthy. Now, in this very moment, the NBA community is coming together to hope that the young power forward/center will still be able to have a future in the league.
With that said, we’re hoping that Nerlens Noel is able to manifest a speedy recovery and return to the professional hardwood where he belongs.