Dallas Mavericks big man Nerlens Noel will reportedly miss between four and six weeks after he undergoes surgery on his left thumb in the coming days, according to Earl K. Sneed of the team's official website.
Sneed added Noel believes he suffered the injury in the fourth or fifth game of the regular season.
Despite only being 23, Noel has a somewhat worrying injury history, particularly with his knees.
He had knee surgery in March 2013 and sat out the entire 2013-14 season in order to fully recover from the procedure. Knee issues limited his time on the floor in 2015-16 as well, and he missed 15 games. Noel then didn't make his 2016-17 debut until the Philadelphia 76ers' Dec. 11 victory over the Detroit Pistons after he underwent another knee surgery last October.
This season, Noel has been limited to a paltry 12.5 minutes per night over the course of 18 appearances. He's been noticeably absent of late, as well, and hasn't played in a game since Nov. 22.
When active, he's averaged 4.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game.
The Mavericks are in rebuilding mode, so Noel's absence won't mean much for Dallas. The bigger concern will be Noel's impending free agency next summer. He agreed to a $4.1 million qualifying offer for this season, and another lengthy absence would put a serious dent in his potential earning power in the summer.