Oklahoma City Thunder player Nerlens Noel was hospitalized after taking a scary fall during Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
During the third quarter, Noel went up to contest a dunk by Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins. The center took Wiggins’ elbow to the face, and smacked his head against the ground on the way down. Noel laid on the court, seemingly knocked out, as the fans in Chesapeake Energy Arena were silent in shock.
Noel, the sixth pick in the 2013 draft, had to be stretchered off the floor, and was taken to a local hospital.
Prayers up for Nerlens Noel. The Thunder big man caught an elbow, hit his head and had to be stretchered off 🙏 pic.twitter.com/22qPKtz1l6
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 9, 2019
According to The Athletic, Noel has since been diagnosed with a concussion, avoiding any fractures. There is no timetable yet for Noel’s return to the team.
Noel had played just six minutes prior to the injury, and notched six points. The Timberwolves came out of the game with a 119-117 victory over the Thunder. Tensions rose following the injury, as OKC’s Dennis Schröder and Minnesota’s Jeff Teague got into an altercation. Teague was ejected from the game.
Tweets from figures around the league poured in after Noel went down, offering thoughts, prayers, and a speedy recovery to the young player.
Prayers for Nerlens Noel! That’s scary! @NerlensNoel3
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) January 9, 2019
The game is IRRELEVANT…pray for Nerlens Noel’s health!! 🙏🏾
— Antonio Daniels (@adaniels33) January 9, 2019
Hoping Nerlens Noel is OK. Took an elbow in the forehead from a driving Wiggins, then his head hit the floor hard as he fell. Being stretchered off. Very scary.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 9, 2019