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Nerlens Noel says he’s feeling like his old self, still no timetable

Sep 18, 2013, 2:03 PM EST

2013 NBA Draft Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers are not going to rush Nerlens Noel back on the court. More like the opposite. They are not in it for winning this season, they are in for the long haul and the lottery, which is why they took on Noel in a trade for Jrue Holiday — Noel has a high ceiling but is a project.

Noel is also coming off an ACL injury that ended his college career at Kentucky early.

Noel is in Philly working out and told Jeff Caplan of the Hang Time Blog at NBA.com he’s feeling good… but don’t look for a timeline on his return.

“I feel great. I’m really starting to feel like my old self, being able to have my explosiveness. But I’m definitely being careful with it,” Noel said. ”From Day 1, every time I was in rehab, the last few reps, I would just think how bad I want to get on the court because of how much I want to prove to myself that I can get back and be the player I want to be.”

Noel was an athletic player — remember he blew out his knee on a successful chasedown block. In an age when more mobile centers will be the norm, Noel could be the kind of shot blocking big who can run the floor the Sixers will need to go with… whoever they get in the draft.

But there is no rush to get him back on the court. None at all.

  1. jimsjam33 - Sep 18, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    No timetable ? Okay then , just sit out the season and get healthy . Common sense isn’t it !

  2. birdzflyinhigh - Sep 18, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    He really seems like he is working hard through his rehab and you can absolutely tell he has a chip on his shoulder. He knows, as well as the Sixers, that there is no reason to rush back, especially in a season where it’s all about “riggin for wiggins.” Chances are that he won’t be back until after the new year or maybe longer, but when he does, he will be able to log some crucial minutes to give him a jump start on next year. It will be a tough year to watch Sixers ball, but it will be worth it come 2015.

  3. 1historian - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    With the Celts in the same position as the 6ers the games between them this season could be interesting.

  4. misremembered72 - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    I’m really excited about the future potential of the sixers but Noel needs to take his time bulk up and figure out his offensive game. I agree he should play this season at some point to get experience but at the nba level you can’t get away with being remotely near his size unless you have some sort of jumpshot/outside the paint game.

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