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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.

Robert Senior Sports Doc blog Editor
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Robert Senior Sports Doc blog Editor
Alfred Atanda, Jr., M.D. Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Robert Cabry, M.D. Drexel Sports Medicine, Team physician - U.S. Figure Skating, Assoc. Team Physician - Drexel
Brian Cammarota, MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES Symetrix Sports Performance, athletic trainer at OAA Orthopaedics
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Rothman Institute, Head Team Physician for the Phillies & St. Joe's
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Rothman Institute, Head Team Physician - Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon - Flyers
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director - The Center For Sport Psychology, Sports Psychology Consultant - 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Rothman Institute, Team Physician - USA Wrestling, Consultant - Philadelphia Phillies
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer at The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Cassie Haynes, JD, MPH Co-Founder, Trap Door Athletics, CrossFit LI Certified
Eugene Hong, MD, CAQSM, FAAFP Team Physician - Drexel, Philadelphia University, Saint Joe’s, & U.S. National Women’s Lacrosse
Jim McCrossin, ATC Flyers and Phantoms
Kevin Miller Fitness Coach, Philadelphia Union
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales, Pa.
David Rubenstein, M.D. Main Line Health Lankenau Medical Center, Team Orthopedist - Philadelphia 76ers
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute, Athletic Trainer - US Soccer Federation
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