Nerlens Noel Stretchered Off vs. T-Wolves After Suffering Scary Head Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2019

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nerlens Noel (3) during an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Oklahoma City Thunder big man Nerlens Noel suffered a head injury on Tuesday in the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves after he was hit in the head with an unintentional elbow from Timberwolves wing Andrew Wiggins and hit his head on the floor.

Daniel Beyer of Fox Sports provided more details:

Daniel Beyer @danbeyeronfox

Wow. #Thunder big man Nerlens Noel hit his head hard on the floor and is still laying there. Doctors yelling “keep your eyes open”. Scary.

After the game, Wiggins told reporters he hoped the Thunder center would be OK and that the hit was accidental. Wiggins also tweeted good wishes to Noel:

andrew wiggins @22wiggins

My prayers out to you 🙏🏾 @NerlensNoel3

Noel underwent thumb surgery last season and only played in 30 games, and he has dealt with injuries throughout his career. He missed the 2013-14 campaign because of knee surgery, missed 15 games in 2015-16 and played just 51 games in 2016-17.

Entering Tuesday, the Kentucky product averaged 5.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in his first full campaign with the Thunder after they signed him this past offseason following a disappointing showing with the Dallas Mavericks in 2017-18. He averaged just 4.4 points a night in those 30 games.

Noel can serve as a double-double threat when completely healthy, as evidenced by his 11.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in 2015-16.

The Thunder figure to rely even more on the combination of Steven Adams, Jerami Grant and Patrick Patterson in the frontcourt while Noel is sidelined.


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