2:18pm: The Thunder have issued a press release confirming that Noel has been diagnosed with a concussion. He has been placed in the league’s concussion protocol and will have to exhibit symptom-free behavior before resuming basketball activities. The team didn’t provide an estimated timeline for his recovery.
10:27am: Thunder center Nerlens Noel took a scary fall during the third quarter of Tuesday’s game against Minnesota, hitting his head against the court and laying motionless beneath the basket for a few minutes. As Royce Young of ESPN.com details, Noel was moved to OU Medical Center after being taken off the floor on a stretcher, and was held there overnight for evaluations.
Those evaluations are expected to continue, but the early diagnosis on Noel is good news, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links). League sources tell Charania that Noel – who was “alert in the aftermath of his fall” last night – sustained a concussion, but avoided any fractures.
We’ll have to wait for a formal update from the Thunder to get an idea of Noel’s official diagnosis and what his recovery timetable might look like. Still, it’s good to hear that he appears for now to have avoided a major injury.
If Noel has to miss extended time, it will be interesting to see how Oklahoma City handles the backup center minutes. Starter Steven Adams may be leaned on a little more heavily, while Patrick Patterson could see more time at the five.