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Could this be Noel's first game?
Why It's Important: Will this be Nerlens Noel's first game back?
Noel has said how he hopes to be back around Christmas time, but is that really in his best interest? We can all appreciate how he wants to return as soon as possible. He slipped in the draft because of his torn ACL, it only makes sense that he wants to prove people wrong for passing on him.
A speedy recovery is great and all, but it means nothing if the player isn't truly 100 percent ready to return.
The Sixers know the kind of player Noel could turn into. A franchise-changing center is incredibly hard to come by. It's in Philadelphia's best interest to rest him until he is both mentally and physically ready to play on his knee.
Philly's first game after the All-Star break is against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it could be the perfect time for Noel to make his return. Playing the game on February 18, 2014 means that it will have been 371 days since Noel tore his left ACL.
That is over a year of recovery time, which puts him right on schedule.
Playing him near Christmas or at the start of the New Year just doesn't make sense. The Sixers need to give him a full year to recover or choose to sit him for the entire season.
If they decide to play him, his return date should be somewhere around when Cleveland comes to town.
And if that isn't entertaining enough, a possibly healthy Andrew Bynum playing in Philadelphia should be more than worth the price of admission.
Who Will Win: Cleveland will win by at least 12 points if they are healthy going into the game.