Originally written on StraitPinkie.com  |  Last updated 10/21/13
Philadeplhia 76ers rookie center Nerlens Noel, is not expected to play at all this season according to new coach Brett Brown. The former Kentucky Wildcat suffered a torn ACL last February against the Florida Gators. With the NBA Draft looming just months away, Noel worked vigorously to speed up the healing of his knee, in preparations for his rookie season. Despite the severity of the injury, most NBA Draft projections still had him going No.1 overall. Noel fell to the sixth overall selection, and then traded before his first interview as a professional was over. The 76ers gave up All-Star guard Jrue Holiday and a 2014 1st round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Noel. Now, Philadelphia may not see a return in their investment for a whole year. Looking back before the NBA Draft, all the buzz surrounding Noel and his rehab was great news. His incredible work ethic was paying off, and he was always ahead of schedule. Fast forward to today, and coach Brett Brown is saying his ailing knee is a much slower process than expected. The thought has to creep into one’s mind that Noel’s knee may have not been healing as rapidly as advertised. Those realities probably cost him the No. 1 overall pick and now his rookie season. Recently, we have seen the likes Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant all experience the same type of injury. Rondo described the rehab as the hardest thing he has ever done. Rose took so long to come back from his ACL tear that he was criticized relentlessly by the media and even some fans. Everyone expects Kobe Bryant to bounce back and play in the season-opener and return to his former mamba. The stigma surrounding Noel was all the uncertainties and complications, and never the hope of a full recovery. Noel’s road to recovery appears to be much longer and challenging than expected. The 76ers have no choice to wait out the process, due to all they gave up on draft night. Dealing Noel would not make any sense, even though the patience may start to wear thin as the year goes along. One can only hope for both parties involved that Noel can return to his true form and be the presence he was at Kentucky.
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