The Norman Transcript

National Sports

May 17, 2013

Noel’s rehab ahead of schedule

CHICAGO — A telling fact about this year’s NBA draft class might be that the potential No. 1 pick will be unavailable to start the 2013-14 season while recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

NBA personnel officials and scouts gathered Thursday for the annual NBA draft combine.

“This draft class, they say there’s no Kevin Durant, there’s no LeBron James, so there’s a big window open,” said Georgetown small forward Otto Porter Jr., who calls his game similar to that of Memphis Grizzlies veteran Tayshaun Prince.

The player who got the most attention was Nerlens Noel from Kentucky, but the 6-foot-10 freshman’s availability will be in question because he is recovering from a torn ACL after surgery in March.

Noel said he is “ahead of schedule,” but being ready for a season opener is overly optimistic.

“I’ve started to shoot some free throws the last week with a different type of brace on,” said Noel, who has yet to start running again in his rehab. “I’m 100 percent confident of not just gaining what I had but definitely being stronger, coming back better. During this time that I won’t be playing basketball I’ll just be working on a lot of things that I needed to polish when I was playing.”

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