Saturday, April 18, 2015

Nerlens Noel's ACL tear and what to expect

The first reaction of many 76ers fans upon hearing of the big draft night trade was "Here we go again."

Nerlens Noel's ACL tear and what to expect

Nerlens Noel waits for the first round of the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 27, 2013, in New York. (Kathy Willens/AP)
Nerlens Noel waits for the first round of the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 27, 2013, in New York. (Kathy Willens/AP)

“It’s happening again!”

That was the initial reaction of many 76ers fans, as news broke that the team was trading All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of a package that would bring back much-heralded draft pick Nerlens Noel from the University of Kentucky.

Why the concerns? Well, Noel is currently recovering from an ACL tear that is expected to keep him out until December. After the previous year’s drama with Andrew Bynum, how could the Sixers deal their potential franchise player for another injured big man?

For one, the two situations couldn’t be any more different. “What Noel has is a straight-forward ACL tear,” says Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC, coordinator of sports medicine at Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute.   They take 9-12 months to heal, and then he should be back on the court. The rest will depend on his talent and maturity.”

Noel, who will likely make his NBA debut at the tender age of 19 (he turns 20 on April 10) also has the benefit of no significant injury history before the ACL tear. Bynum’s injury problems were often attributed to the cumulative effect of repeated knee injuries throughout his career.

Noel’s ACL surgery was performed by the famed Dr. James Andrews, and he is rehabbing with Kevin Wilk, P.T., D.P.T., whom Shaginaw calls “one of the best physical therapists in the country.”

Noel stands almost 7 feet tall, but weighed only 216 lbs. before the NBA Draft. Shaginaw says his size shouldn’t have any impact on the recovery from injury. “If anything, his lower weight will lead to less stress on the knee,” he explains.

In summary, the success of this trade will be determined on the basketball court—not in the trainer’s room.


Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.

Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
About this blog

Whether you are a weekend warrior, an aging baby boomer, a student athlete or just someone who wants to stay active, this blog is for you. Read about our growing list of expert contributors here.

J. Ryan Bair, PT, DPT, SCS Founder and Owner of FLASH Sports Physical Therapy, Board Certified in Sports Physical Therapy
Brian Cammarota, MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES Partner at Symetrix Sports Performance
Ellen Casey, MD Physician with Drexel University Sports Medicine
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Head Team Physician for Phillies & St. Joe's; Rothman Institute
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Justin D'Ancona
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Head Team Physician for Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon for Flyers; Rothman Institute
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director of The Center For Sport Psychology; Sports Psychology Consultant for 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Team Physician for USA Wrestling, Consultant for Phillies; Rothman Institute
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer, The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Brian Maher, BS, CSCS Owner, Philly Personal Training
Julia Mayberry, M.D. Attending Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon, Main Line Hand Surgery P.C.
Jim McCrossin, ATC Strength and Conditioning Coach, Flyers and Phantoms
Gavin McKay, NASM-CPT Founder/Franchisor, Unite Fitness
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales and Hatfield, PA
Kelly O'Shea Senior Health Producer,
Tracey Romero Sports Medicine Editor,
David Rubenstein, M.D. Sports Medicine Surgeon, Rothman Institute
Robert Senior Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Athletic Trainer for US Soccer Federation; Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute
Thomas Trojian MD, CAQSM, FACSM Associate Chief of the Division of Sports Medicine at Drexel University
Latest Videos
Also on
Stay Connected