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Report: Nerlens Noel cleared for basketball activity, could play for Sixers after All-Star break

Jan 15, 2014, 4:14 PM EDT

Sam Hinkie, Nerlens Noel AP

Despite earlier reports the team might have him sit out the season, it looks as if the Sixers could get Nerlens Noel on the court after the All-Star break.

The Philadelphia rookie — picked up in a draft night trade sending Jrue Holiday to New Orleans — has been cleared for basketball activity, reports Jeff Goodman at ESPN.

Philadelphia 76ers rookie center Nerlens Noel has been given the go-ahead by Dr. James Andrews to resume basketball-related activities and could be ready to take the court shortly after the All-Star break, sources told….

“He is doing excellent, and the team is taking good care of him,” Andrews told on Wednesday.

Andrews said he was unable to provide more information because of privacy laws, but sources told that Noel, the No. 6 pick in this past June’s NBA draft, could return to game action within the next four to six weeks barring a setback.

While he has been cleared he’s still not close to stepping on the court and Sixers coach Brett Brown would not play the timeline game, reports John Gonzalez at

“When it does become real, we’ll be more than transparent with his progress and his timeline,” Brown said. “There’s nothing clandestine going on. There’s no conspiracy theories flying around. It’s very clear that he’s moving forward. But timelines and that type of timeline, we don’t see it like that….

“There are some things that have been lifted, in relation to only being able to shoot one-handed with him, but there are so many different layers to this,” Brown said. “To get all excited now about a timeline that has been put out would be not a wise thing to do. He’s got to tick a lot more boxes. He’s progressing well. But there really isn’t a definitive timeline.”

Noel was considered a potential — even likely — No. 1 overall pick a year ago, until on a fall he tore his ACL. The injury led to him falling to No. 6 in the draft, where the Pelicans took him and soon traded him.

Noel has incredible athleticism and was seen as a guy who can help out quickly on the defensive end as a shot blocker but would take time to develop on the offensive end. During his rehab, the Sixers took pains to rebuild his entire shot to help speed that process along. That said, you should see him have some success using his athleticism to get up the court in transition as the Sixers play at the fastest pace in the NBA.

Noel and leading Rookie of the Year candidate Michael Carter-Williams could form a key part of the future in Sixers. This is a franchise not looking to win games this season, end up high in the lottery and from this deep draft add another quality player to the mix.

  1. misremembered72 - Jan 15, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    Glad he’s getting back on the court soon, but when Nerlens says he’s ready the sixers front office should make sure to give him an extra week or two to make sure he is. Don’t need him bringing anymore wins to this team than necessary but I do think giving him some PT this year to learn the pace of the NBA isnt a bad idea.

    • moseskkim - Jan 15, 2014 at 4:56 PM

      yes, big picture.. you try to get a really good pick. and if he is really fully healthy, bring him along slowly this season. give him a taste so that in the offseason, he understands a little more what he needs to do to get better

  2. kjereld615 - Jan 15, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    As a Boston Celtics fan who needs the Sixers to make the playoffs in order for our first rounder we received today to remain a first rounder and not two second rounders, I am incredibly happy by this report. Never thought I’d say this but GO SIXERS!!!!

    • 1historian - Jan 15, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      Don’t forget that D.A. was trained by the best – Red Auerbach

      Go sixers indeed.

    • asimonetti88 - Jan 15, 2014 at 9:15 PM

      They can make it next year too and the Celtics will get a first rounder.

  3. phillysports1 - Jan 15, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    Lets go !!!

  4. coachjac30 - Jan 15, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Good for Nerlens, its been a long road. Now he just needs to put a little meat on his bones.

  5. RavenzGunnerz - Jan 15, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Sad day when a player comes back and the entire fan base is scared that their team might win games…

  6. worldfnchampions08 - Jan 15, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    Brett Brown on 4-6 weeks: “That type of timeline that you just mentioned, we don’t see it like that.”

  7. cameronwarfield - Jan 15, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Michael Carter-Williams is emerging as a potential future all-star player if he manages to stay healthy. Evan Turner is showing that he can be a consistent producer at the 2. With that said If Nerlens Noel can become an Anthony Davis like player he is projected to be the 76ers have the potential to be a legitimate contender in the near future. As Williams and Noel grow Philly will become appealing to future free-agents. Sooner than later we will know what Noel will become but if you consider that this team just came off being robbed by the Bynum trade, and loosing all star point guard Jrue Holiday, the young stars in Philadelphia have the potential to restore a winning tradition that has been long lost since the departure of Allen Iverson.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 16, 2014 at 10:21 PM

      Noel was never projected to be the pro Davis is. We’ll see, but he was not on Davis’ level in the eyes of scouts.

  8. campcouch - Jan 16, 2014 at 4:34 AM

    At some point the people in my family stopped giving out normal names. Last ordinary name was James,now all the kids are named after food,drinks are cars. I feel for you Nerlens.

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