Ex-Cats

Former Wildcat Noel hospitalized after head injury, diagnosed with concussion

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nerlens Noel is attended to after an injury during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. Noel was taken off the court. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nerlens Noel is attended to after an injury during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. Noel was taken off the court. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) AP

Former University of Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel was diagnosed with a concussion but tests did not show any fractures after he suffered a head injury during the Oklahoma City Thunder’s game Tuesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to The Athletic.

ESPN reported Noel was kept overnight at Oklahoma University Medical Center.

Noel was contesting a dunk attempt from Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins when Wiggins inadvertently elbowed him in the face. Noel fell to the floor, and his head struck the floor hard.

Players immediately called for medical attention, and a stretcher was brought out for Noel. After being motionless for a few minutes, he was conscious when taken away on the stretcher.

Doctors were telling Noel, “Keep your eyes open,” while he was on the ground, according to Fox Sports’ Daniel Beyer.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania said Noel was initially knocked unconscious, but was alert in the aftermath of his fall.

Wiggins sent his well wishes to Noel following the game.

“I just tried to make an aggressive move and dunk,” Wiggins told ESPN. “He tried to contest it. I think he fell wrong. I didn’t really see it until I saw him on the ground. Hopefully, he’s good. I hope nothing but the best for him. I hope he gets healthy soon and comes back stronger.”

In his first season with the Thunder, Noel is averaging 5.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

Noel also suffered a gruesome injury while with Kentucky in 2013 when he tore his ACL at Florida. After he blocked the shot of Mike Rosario, his knee buckled and he crumpled to the floor. Noel missed the remainder of his lone season at UK.

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