According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Nerlens Noel has been diagnosed with a concussion after taking a scary fall on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Luckily for the Thunder, Noel reportedly avoided any fractures or further damage — but will continue evaluations before a timeline is established for his return.
Noel was elbowed by Andrew Wiggins while contesting a dunk attempt midway through the third quarter of Tuesday night’s game, apparently losing consciousness before falling and hitting his head on the court. He was removed from the floor by stretcher and taken to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City where he spent the night for testing.
The play that resulted in the injury:
Though the length of Noel’s absence is yet to be determined, the Thunder dodged a bullet with this initial diagnosis. It was a scary play that could have resulted with far poorer results. The damage being limited to a concussion is the best outcome OKC could have hoped for, as Noel has become an integral part of the rotation due to his abilities on the defensive end.
Noel is averaging 5.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks for the Thunder in just under 14 minutes per game behind Steven Adams. He’s in the first year of a two-year, $3.7 million contract — though he has a player option that could make him an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
More to come as this story develops.