On Friday, the Philadelphia 76ers announced that center Nerlens Noel elected to have a “minor surgical procedure” on his left knee to address an inflamed plica, but we now know that the injury will sideline him for about a month.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey:
Dr. Riley Williams and Dr. Steve O’Brien will scope the area during a 10-minute procedure. Noel, who’s been sidelined since Oct. 6, is expected to be sidelined an additional three to five weeks.
If the Sixers were to hold true to that timeline, the first game Noel could return would be the Nov. 14 matchup against the Houston Rockets. A five-week rehab would have him slated to make his season debut against the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 28.
The injury and subsequent surgery is unfortunate for both Noel and the team. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent this summer, and is expecting to cash in on all the money teams have been handing out to rim protectors, but the Sixers logjam has complicated the opportunity for Noel to showcase himself. The former Kentucky standout has been trying to force Philadelphia’s hand in making some sort of trade to resolve the situation. Due to the fact that his contract is expiring and the team has not had any discussions with his representatives about an extension, Noel is still the most likely to be moved. However, the surgery will almost certainly put the team into wait-and-see mode.
It’s hard to think that a team would be willing to make a move for Noel without seeing that his knee is holding up, so any deal involving the 6’ 11” big man will probably happen closer to February’s trade deadline.
This is Noel’s second surgical procedure on his left knee. He had surgery to repair a torn ACL after injuring it during a game against Florida in Feb. 2013.