Dr. James Andrews: Team that drafts Nerlens Noel ‘has to go slowly’

With the NBA draft less than a month away Nerlens Noel’s injured knee is in the spotlight. The odds on favorite to be selected by the Cavaliers with the first overall pick is in the middle of a strenuous rehab process after tearing his ACL back in February.

Noel’s surgeon, Dr. James Andrews spoke with ESPN and painted a realistic picture of what to expect from Noel’s recovery.

“Whoever gets him has to go slowly with him,” Andrews said. “It’s going to take him a while to get back to the level he was before he was injured.”

While knee injuries aren’t career threatening as they have been in years passed, it is still a tall order for a basketball player to make a full recovery from a torn ACL. Look no further than Derek Rose.

Despite the severity of the rehab process, Andrews is happy with Noel’s progress.

“We’re really happy with his progress,” Andrews told ESPN. “He’s several weeks ahead of schedule on his rehab. He’s improving on a weekly basis. He has a completely stable knee. The bone plugs are completely healed into the bone. His muscle and weight is returning. He has had no setbacks at all.”

Noel’s trainer, Kevin Wilk, echoed Andrews’ excitement in how far Noel has come.

“He’s well ahead of schedule,” he said. “He’s now out on the court for about an hour doing free shooting. He’s running in the pool. I don’t know too many guys who could do that at this stage.”

It has been speculated that Noel would not be able to return to full game action until next December which would be ten months since the top prospect tore his knee. Despite the injury Noel is still the consensus choice among mock drafts for the Cavs at the number one.

[Related: Cavalier NBA Draft Film Room: Nerlens Noel]

  • Lee Nicholas

    I don’t think I’ve ever envied Chris Grant and the difficult decisions he has to make less than I do right now.

  • FearTheRoo

    Cleveland fans are used to injury plagued stars. Kyrie Irving, Trent Richardson, Montario Hardesty, Anderson Varejao, Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, Kellen Winslow, Courtney Brown, and dozens more. What’s one more?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Awesome story Ryan ‘I love the lottery’ Jones this is just one of the reasons I’m really hoping the Cavaliers either trade down or select someone else.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    C’mon Roo!!!!

  • zonk

    How often are athletes really “behind schedule” in their rehab? Only two I can think of are Grady and D. Rose.

  • EdgewaterJoe

    … and DRose isn’t behind in his rehab because of the injury — it’s because his brother (who had a similar injury 10+ years ago) had him so terrified he refused to start playing again. This despite not just getting cleared by doctors to start playing, but in the face of doctors telling DRose that playing was the last step in the rehab process. DRose set his recovery back by refusing to play at the end of the season (and reports are that he was going full-on in scrimmages and just pantsing everyone that played him). E