February 13, 2013
Nerlens Noel's future isn't decided.
He's now facing a six-to-eight month recovery process from a torn ACL. The NBA Draft, should he choose to enter, is in four months.
He's been projected in the top three of most NBA draft boards, with multiple analysts considering him the No. 1 pick.
Following the injury, however, the top spot looks unlikely.
"I think I can say, with some certainty, that this ends his quest of being the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft." ESPN's Chad Ford wrote.
However, Noel is No. 3 on ESPN's Big Board and Ford said a top-five pick remains a strong possibility.
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com said Noel is still virtually the "same prospect" as he was before the injury because it's a recovery process that's relatively known.
"Teams will want their doctors to have a thorough look at the knee," Givony tweeted, "but if Noel is only out until Dec/Jan, its not the end of the world."
Ultimately, Noel's injury is a setback -- but one that seems far from threatening his career.
"The good news is he is insured, so he would have been fine even if the injury would have been worse," John Calipari said in a release. "Obviously this is not a career-ending injury and it’s one that athletes bounce back from all the time."