Nerlens Noel Injury: Updates on 76ers Star's Knee and Return

Tim DanielsFeatured Columnist

Jan 4, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers won 109-99. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel suffered a bruised right knee on March 20 during the team's 120-105 loss to the Boston Celtics and has not played since. It's unclear when he'll return to the court. 

Continue for updates.

Noel Out vs. Pacers

Saturday, April 2

76ers head coach Brett Brown announced Noel will not play Saturday against Indiana, per Tom Moore of Calkins Media.

Noel Comments on Returning Before Season's End

Wednesday, March 30

"I definitely want to get back on the court, definitely before the season ends and be able to give it another run," Noel said, per Jessica Camerato of "But obviously being smart, coming back healthy and making sure I’m in a good place when I come back."

"I’m making progress," Noel added, per Camerato. "I’ve been getting treatment around the clock. I’m starting to feel a little better. I’m looking forward to this weekend so I can see what I’m able to do."

Noel Injury Hinders Progress 

Noel continues to make steady progress for the Sixers. The biggest difference since the start of the season is his efficiency at the offensive end. His shooting percentage has increased as he's taken on a more complementary scoring role instead of the team trying to force plays for him.

The former lottery pick is averaging 11.1 points and eight rebounds in 29.1 minutes per game.

Injury-wise, the Kentucky product missed his entire first season in the NBA while he recovered from left knee surgery. The ailments he's dealt with since then have been more of the minor variety, including some right knee tendinitis before the All-Star break.

If he's forced out of the lineup, the 76ers' limited frontcourt depth will get tested. Richaun Holmes and Carl Landry figure to split the extra minutes alongside Jahlil Okafor, at least until one of them develops a hot hand and earns more playing time.

Philadelphia will proceed with caution when it comes to Noel. There's no reason to rush him back this season, and the team won't want to risk any additional problems.