On Tuesday night, Nerlens Noel left with a brutal looking injury. Wednesday, the Kentucky Wildcats confirmed that the star had torn his ACL and he will miss the rest of the season. With the NBA Draft coming up in June, how much will an injury like this affect his draft stock?
Nerlens Noel torn ACL, out for season, per UK release. Condolences to the young man.
— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) February 13, 2013
This is kind of a tough situation for Noel. There have been players that have suffered a serious injury but they were not affected in the draft. Kenyon Martin is the first person that jumps to mind. He broke his leg late in the season but he was still selected first overall. Then again, a broken leg is not as bad as a torn ACL.
If Noel does go to the draft, I can still see him being a top 10 pick. A team will be willing to take him in and help with his rehab. ACL injuries have come a long way and they are not the career changer that they used to be. If a team feels they can get the kid right, they might have a defensive steal on their hands.
There is also the chance that Noel returns to school to try to rehab there. I don’t see this as a great possibility but it is there. He may want to recoup some of those lost dollars by building his draft stock back up. It would be a risk but it could equal more money in the long run.
It is a long time before the draft, but this decision will have a ripple effect on both college basketball and the pros.