The basketball world waited for an injury diagnosis for Oklahoma City Thunder center Nerlens Noel, who had to be carted off during the Thunder’s loss to Minnesota on Tuesday night. Noel went up to contest an Andrew Wiggins dunk, caught a forearm to the face, fell to the floor, and banged his head against the hardwood.
It was quite the scary scene, and after the game, Thunder coach Billy Donovan was unable to give an update on Noel’s status. One day later and we have some clarity from Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports that Noel suffered a concussion but managed to avoid a fracture.
Obviously the best-case scenario would have been that Noel managed to get out of this unscathed, but the fact that he was able to avoid some kind of fracture in his skull and was diagnosed with only a concussion is a bit of a relief. The severity of the concussion is still unknown, and hopefully Noel won’t be sidelined for too terribly long with the ailment.
Noel has turned into a valuable player off the bench for the Thunder, anchoring the team’s defense when he’s put in to spell Steven Adams. He’s appeared in 39 games this season, averaging 5.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and a steal in 13.7 minutes a night.