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]