USA TODAY Sports
It's a worst case scenario for Nerlens Noel as the hopeful prayers that his gruesome knee injury looked worse than it actually was ended up unanswered.
Torn ACL. Out for the season. Goodbye UK and NCAA.
The injury is a relief for everyone fearing a Shaun Livingston level of decimation but is disheartening for not just Kentucky fans, but draft watchers who had fantasized about him wearing their teams jersey.
I must admit that when I first heard of his injury it was the second time I felt my hopes dashed for the Suns future (the first being the glorious James Harden Free Agent Arizona Homecoming I was so certain would come to pass).
Draftexpress' Jonathan Givony tweeted that he believed that his draft stock would not suffer as he was still the top big man in the draft.
Our own esteemed Kris Habbas said that he along with Ben McLemore was likely at the top of the Suns' draft board.
There are few positives to a young hardworking man being hurt and having his dream threatened but, In the interest of looking at The Bright Side, (since Suns fans are all about optimism), there are a few silver linings if the Suns still want to pursue him.
1. It was not, as many feared, a Shaun Livingston type injury. Torn ACLs are not the death sentence that it used to be.
2. If we draft him, we can bring him along slowly. The possibility remains that we would still have Scola, Frye, Morris and possibly Gortat on the roster and he does not have to be the franchise savior.
3. If we can't get full utilization out of our top pick in 2013, it only improves the chances we still draft high in the much-awaited 2014.
4. If his stock DOES take a hit and he freefalls a bit, then we get a shot at what most would consider The Impossible Dream: A shot at McLemore/Muhammad with our pick and Noel at the Lakers. ( or vice versa, Muhammad seems to be dropping as well.)
So, for now, I'm going to stand pat with my Nerlens Noel / Victor Oladipo hopes.
Nerl (Can I call you "Nerl"?) if you are reading, get well soon. Come back strong.
And two magic words for you:
Minor setback for a MAJOR comeback!I love you all and can't thank y'all enough for the prayers.— Nerlens Noel (@NerlensNoel3) February 13, 2013