Nerlens, UK logo clearly visible. - Kevin C. Cox
6 Total Updates since February 13, 2013
2 months ago Article 13 comments
Nerlens Noel is scheduled to have his torn ACL surgically repaired tomorrow.
3 months ago Video 4 comments
This is an excellent, and fortunately non-gory video that explains how an ACL reconstruction is done. It is informative, it uses 3D graphics and not pictures of a real, live knee so you don't have to worry about watching something revolting. This is what Nerlens Noel will go through.
3 months ago Article 23 comments
The loss of Nerlens Noel is a blow to the team, both because Nerlens is such a wonderful young man but also a dominant player. As hard as it is to look past the human element of his injury, Kentucky still has seven remaining games in the regular season as well as the SEC tournament and they must find a way to play without him.
3 months ago Article 48 comments
A day in the life. And it was not a good day either.
3 months ago Update 24 comments
I have avoided writing about what the loss of Nerlens Noel means to the team, because right now, the grief of his loss is still to near. We are still in mourning.
Dana O'Neil at ESPN has a piece up that needed to be written. Of course, we here at A Sea of Blue have been focusing on Nerlens, the person for the entire time, especially in the comments, but sports media sites can be forgiven for not doing so. Most of these people are not really Kentucky fans, and they way they cover sports, UK is just a blip on the hit-meter. When Kentucky is hot, they write about it, and when they're not, they write about something else.
Today, Kentucky is hot because Nerlens tore his ACL. Note that I referred to him by his first name, even though he and I are not on that kind of basis. As an injured player, referring to him as "Noel" seems impersonal, uncaring. I may do it out of habit, but not out of preference.
Anyway, to O'Neil's piece:
Instead of prepping for a game against Tennessee, he's now prepping for surgery and a long and lonely road of rehab.
Long? Yes, indeed. Ideally 8 months, just to be sure.
But lonely? Never. Not here. Not in the Big Blue Nation. Nerlens will never be alone at any point unless he wants to be. There will be people helping, encouraging, and making sure he does everything the right way.
Alone? In the bosom of the Big Blue Nation?
He won't return to Kentucky because he will be drafted. The NBA is all about potential and his is limitless. So eventually he'll make his money, too.
But think about how he was injured.
He was doubling back to try to block a shot in a game that was already all but in the books as a Kentucky loss.
The irony of how the injury happened has been debated on Twitter and briefly on here, but just in case you missed it, the issue is this -- he made a hustle play in a game that was all but lost to make up for a mistake he made on the other end, and he successfully blocked the shot. The irony of getting injured while the rest of his teammates (who should have been with him) were on the other end of the floor is not lost on anyone. This is not a knock on them, but an exposition of the kind of young man Nerlens is.
For the past two years, the NCAA has been all but torpedoed by people demanding that college athletes be paid. We've lampooned and criticized the organization for treating its student-athletes as little more than the means to a very profitable end.
Are we any different?
Noel is the interchangeable part of the moment, just like Kyrie Irving was two years ago and Kenyon Martin many years before that.
Gone and though not forgotten, being processed like a piece of meat through the grinder.
So maybe in between dithering over his draft stock and fretting over Kentucky's NCAA tournament hopes, we can pause for a moment and think about Nerlens Noel.
I think that's a good idea, Dana, and this needed to be said. Welcome to where we live.
Once someone is a member of the Kentucky Wildcats, you are stuck with it for life. The Big Blue Nation will obsess about Nerlens through his career from now on, long after he's gone, because that's what we do. We don't forget our own, not even when they can't or don't play anymore. When they are done, we welcome them back home.
So will it be with Nerlens.
3 months ago Update 41 comments
I posted this in the first update, but I think it deserves it's own thread. Derek Anderson of the 1996 national championship and 1997 national runner-up team tweeted this very shortly after Nerlens Noel's injury had been diagnosed:
@nerlensnoel3 I'm headed to Kentucky NOW to help you get thru this. This will make u much stronger, physically & Mentally. C u Soon LIL Bro— Derek L. Anderson(@DerekLAnderson) February 13, 2013
This is what it means to come to Kentucky and be a member of this great program. If anyone ever doubted that the bonds that are formed in connection with this school lack strength due to a short gestation period, be disabused of that notion now, and forever.
Derek Anderson was only here at Kentucky two years, and half of that time he was recovering from his own ACL tear. Kentucky means so much to him that he is on his way to Lexington to help Noel get through this, and there is nobody more qualified, both as a motivator and as a living, breathing example, than DA.
Thanks, Derek. You have the gratitude of a grateful Big Blue Nation.