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76ers' Noel unlikely to play this season

The SportsXchange

Center Nerlens Noel, the Philadelphia 76ers's first-round draft pick, is expected to sit out the entire 2013-2014 season following knee surgery, coach Brett Brown said Monday.

"I doubt, everybody doubts that he's going to play this year," Brown said, according to ESPN.com. "We don't want to waste this year. I think from a skill perspective, it's an opportunity for us to break down his shot, really work on his free throws and start a little bit from ground zero."

Noel, the No. 7 overall pick in this year's NBA draft, had surgery on his left knee last March to repair a torn anterior-cruciate ligament.

When the Sixers drafted him, they did not expect him to miss his entire rookie season. The original timetable for his recovery was 6-8 months, which would have allowed him to return at midseason. Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery, told ESPN in June that Noel's recovery was ahead of schedule.

But the Sixers are taking a conservative approach as they overhaul the team for the future. An excellent defensive player and shot-blocker, the 6-foot-11 Noel is raw in terms of his offensive skills.

Philadelphia acquired Noel and a 2014 first-round draft pick in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday.
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