The Florida Gators had been dominating the Kentucky Wildcats for a majority of the game Tuesday night. However, after tremendous defensive play by the Wildcats they fought back to a 57-45 game. Unfortunately, at this point in the game, the Wildcats took a tremendous blow. Nerlens Noel was injured as he collided with the padded section under the basket. Immediately, it was obvious that Noel was in tremendous pain, his yell being heard across the gym as the crowd, knowing how talented of a player he was, held their breath. He was carried to the locker room putting no pressure on his knee. There is no X-ray machine on site at the the Gators stadium, so if X-rays are to be done he must be taken to the nearby hospital.
As Noel was carried off the court, in a classy move the “Rowdy Reptiles” (the nickname for Florida’s student section) clapped for him. Very few student sections in the country would be so respectful to a player on an opposing team so close to them in league play – this just goes to show how fans in the SEC understand the impact that one player can make for a team.
Kentucky loses so much of its defense without Noel. Any extended period of absence will be devastating for the Wildcats, especially with crucial games down the stretch that could decide where they end up being seeded in the NCAA tournament. One thing is for sure – people around the country will be hoping that the injury was not as bad as it looked.