University of Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee yesterday and will miss the rest of the college basketball season.
Noel will undergo surgery in the next two to three weeks, according to a statement on the school’s athletics website. The 18-year-old was projected by some analysts to be the top pick in the National Basketball Association Draft in June.
“Minor setback for a MAJOR comeback!” Noel said today on his Twitter account.
Noel tore the ligament in the second half of Kentucky’s 69-52 loss to Florida last night after landing awkwardly on his left leg and running into the basket support. He was on the floor yelling in pain for more than a minute before teammates carried him off the court.
The 6-foot-10 forward is leading the National Collegiate Athletic Association in shots blocked, with 106, and is second in the Southeastern Conference in rebounds per game, with 9.5, according to the release. He was averaging 10.5 points per game.
The NBA’s age limit prevents players from going directly to the NBA from high school. Anthony Davis, the top pick in the 2012 NBA draft after one year with Kentucky, was guaranteed about $9.1 million over his first two professional seasons.
The defending NCAA-champion Wildcats are 17-7 this year. They are ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press poll after opening the season at No. 3.
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