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Nerlens Noel’s Thursday News & Views


Photo by Clay Jackson

What a day.

From the heart-stopping moment Nerlens crumpled to the ground on Tuesday night to the minute we finally heard he had torn his ACL and would be out for the season, the Big Blue Nation has been on a roller coaster of emotions. Nerlens’ screams as he clutched his knee on the O’Connell Center floor pierced the hearts of fans and haunted many dreams across the Bluegrass. From there, we pretty much went through the five stages of grief while waiting for the news.

Denial:

I don’t think many of us spent long here. It became clear that Nerlens’ injury was bad through gruesome photos, video and above all his screams, and with each minute that ticked by without an update, our fears worsened. The staff brought Nerlens home to Kentucky with the team and on Wednesday morning, we found out that Nerlens’ X-rays showed that there was no fracture or broken bones. But still, the MRI loomed over the morning like a rain cloud. Rumors swirled in the comments sections about ruptured patellas, multiple torn ligaments, and panic made everyone fear the worst but always hope for the best. When we finally heard the news that Nerlens had a torn ACL and was out for the season, hardly the worst-case scenario, hearts across the state still dropped like stones.

Anger:

I’m pretty sure this came before denial for me. A lot of it was anger that a) this happened in the first place; and b) that this happened to Noel. We’ve all waxed on poetic about how special Nerlens is, but it really is true. Noel is a hard worker. He will recover. But it still stings that it had to happen to the one player on the team that left it all on the floor every game and on a play that was living proof of that. There was also anger for the rest of this season, which is teetering wildly in the distance. We all know that Nerlens was this team’s rock. The team will hopefully rally around him, but with this group, that is just a possibility, not a probability. Without Nerlens, the Cats have to prove themselves to the Selection Committee once more, an uphill battle which is beyond frustrating.

Bargaining:

I know I’m not the only one who offered up my ACL to Nerlens today. It’s relatively healthy for someone who only moves from the bed to the office chair with a solid 45 minutes of elliptical use in between.

Depression:

Once we knew the extent of the injury, the BBN spun back into sadness. Something about the somber certainty of those black words on a white screen saying that Nerlens would be out for the season seemed very final. It is very unlikely we will see Nerlens play in a UK jersey again, and Nerlens essentially lost his chance at being the #1 pick in the draft. Yet, after we did some stress eating (and probably drinking), it was time to move on the fifth and final stage…

Acceptance:

Now that our blood pressure has returned to normal and our minds have escaped the panicked fog, it’s time to move on. Nerlens’ injury was devastating, but like Cal said, many many players have bounced back from it before. He may not be the number one pick in the draft anymore, but he will likely still be in the top 5, which is higher than he would be right out of high school, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford. Ford said that Nerlens’ year in college helped him go from being a #6 – #14 pick to top five. And haven’t we all agreed over Cal’s tenure that you can’t turn down top 5, especially if you risk reinjury? Some food for thought: on his radio show Wednesday night, Calipari said that the decision for Noel to stay at UK or go pro will be determined by his rehab progress. The most telling sign of acceptance came from Nerlens himself, who tweeted that the injury was a “minor setback for a MAJOR comeback.” Thank you, Nerlens Noel. There aren’t many like you.

#Nerlens4theY

On that note, what better way for Nerlens to say goodbye if he decides to go to the draft than to be the “Y” on Senior Day? Wednesday on Twitter, fans suggested that Nerlens be the Y so that fans could have a proper chance to thank him for his contributions. We fully stand behind that campaign, which we have given the moniker “#Nerlens4theY.” Spread it around like creamy peanut butter.

Where does the team go from here?

This is the million dollar question. Judging by the comments section (always a bad idea), many of you have already written this team off. It’s not hard to see why; this squad’s saving grace this season has been Nerlens, and when he had to be on the bench, they were out of sync and hard to watch. Color me an optimist–nay, color me a diehard UK fan–but I can’t just toss this team aside. They’re not dead…yet. Suddenly, this team is being judged not only on what it has done, but what the Selection Committee thinks it can do if they let them in the tournament. NCAA Selection Committee chair Mike Bobinski said on Wednesday that they have four and a half weeks of basketball left to watch Kentucky play and to see how they perform without Noel.

It all starts Saturday in Knoxville. The Cats have two choices: a) let Nerlens’ injury unite them and fight or b) fold. The first three fourths of the game yesterday seem to suggest the latter. But trying times sometimes yield surprising results. It won’t be easy–every single player on the team will have to raise their level of play, especially Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, Ryan Harrow and Willie Cauley-Stein. Cauley-Stein literally has huge shoes to fill in the middle. He’s played well since coming back from his own knee procedure, but he will be asked to do much more now, and while I love Willie, he’s not Nerlens. So let’s not expect him to be. What Willie does in the next month and a half will go a long way in determining his draft stock for this year. If all goes well, he could play himself to a lottery pick. Can we get Willie a pair of jorts, stat?

Cal will have to rework the lineup to find something that will work for this group, which may mean Jarrod Polson plays a more integral part. If there were no excuses before, there definitely aren’t anymore. The margin for error is nil and the season starts now.

With that in mind, let’s put the draining events of the day behind us and move forward.

Some miscellaneous thoughts before we head to bed:

— Cats fans were dealt another blow of bad news when we found out that Nate Willis, the talented JuCo corner who committed to Stoops with dreams of reaching the NFL as fast as possible, tweeted that he doesn’t have the academics to qualify for UK and will play Division II instead. However, word is there is much more to the story, so don’t give up yet.

Tevin Lawson update: the four-star defensive tackle is currently visiting TCU and afterwards, will visit either Louisiana Tech or Texas on Friday. Lawson’s visit to Kentucky went very well, but he’s quickly picking up interest from other schools and it will likely be a week before we know his decision.

— I can never end on bad news. Here’s a heartening tweet from Denzel Ware, the four-star defensive end who committed to UK on Tuesday:

On that, I will say goodnight. Let’s get some rest.

(And yes, I know Thursday is Valentine’s Day. Nerlens, will you be our Valentine?)

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

48 Comments for Nerlens Noel’s Thursday News & Views



  1. Supa
    11:08 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Amen.



  2. Logan
    11:08 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    BBN needs to get behind this team and cheer them on. Nerlens is a great player, and it sucks we lost him I know. They still have games to play and I hope we can all rally behind them and hope for the best. GO BIG BLUE



  3. Eric K
    11:11 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    #2 YES SIR!! GO CATS!!



  4. ltylerj
    11:14 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    Great post, Tyler!

    Staring at that picture for a few minutes…it hit me. We’ll never see Nerlens in a UK jersey, running up and down the court like a gazelle and owning the paint like only he can again. I knew the day would come, and it was inching closer and closer…but we still had a few months to watch him dominate. I honestly wasn’t prepared for it, and that’s what makes it so difficult to grasp that “The next Bill Russell” in many experts eyes won’t be suiting up for the Big Blue again.

    It really is sad. Today I’ve felt like I just got back from a funeral.



  5. ltylerj
    11:18 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    That being said….the show must go on.

    GO CATS! #DoItForNerlens



  6. oldschool
    11:41 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    First —Noel seems like a good kid and it was terrible to see him go down with a season ending injury. I’m glad he spent a season at UK. No doubt, his much-talked-about visits with ill children probably will help him put things in a new perspective — something most 18-19-year-old kids don’t have.

    Secondly — Let’s hope the best for this young man. I hope he will see the importance of education. His knee is injured, he will likely be back on the court in less than a year and making a lot of money — but this could be a wake-up call that there will be life without basketball. I hope as he sits in class and looks around at other students who aren’t as athletically gifted as he — he will understand that 99 percent of the people are going to have to find other ways to make a living other than putting a ball through a hoop. This too could over him a fresh perspective about what college is supposed to be about.

    Thirdly — Let’s reign in the use of the word “Tragic” when describing this injury. A few days ago, KSR ran a photo of a U.S.Marine who was missing both legs as he stood at center court. Noel has limited use of one leg for a few months — his young man is missing two legs — forever. Noel got hurt playing a game, the Marine got injured defending his nation. This is NOT at all to take away from what happened to Noel — rather just an attempt to put things in perspective.

    A year from now, Noel is likely to sign a multi-million dollar contract to play basketball. The Marine got a medal and pats on the back. I feel for Noel as a kid who suffered a serious injury last night and I literally lifted him up in prayer last night that God would grant him a quick recovery and grant him a peace about the situation. I’m not trying to belittle his situation — but we must learn to put things in perspective.
    Let’s support Noel, pray for him, encourage him and wish him the best. Let’s save the ultimate claims of valor for those who sacrifice so much more, for causes much greater than a game.

    Again — this is no knock on Noel nor an effort to make light of his situation. Let’s just keep it in perspective. He’s gonna be fine. He had insurance and chances are — his playing days are far from over.



  7. HeshimuEvans'2ndGradeTeacher
    11:43 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    #6 – That would be a no, no they don’t. You’ve been here before, man. Don’t you know they’re too busy updating the site (wtf ever happened to that?), coming up with really creative ways to use gifs, and writing posts about reality shows?



  8. Linda Taylor
    11:46 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    g-unit – Did you miss this sentence: “However, word is there is much more to the story, so don’t give up yet.”



  9. Perspective
    11:46 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    #7 – Get off my jock!



  10. goukats
    11:49 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    an’t believe all the doomsday attitudes following Nerlens mishap.Relax people,we still have Archie and Alex.



  11. Jpo
    11:51 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    8. The bachelor posts are GOLD I read them every time and crack up. They should start one for the walking dead!!!



  12. cracka
    11:52 pm February 13, 2013 Permalink

    7) keeping things in perspective … if the top story on yahoo.com said Noel’s injury was a disaster, you could make your argument … this is a blog about uk sports … a season ending injury to our best player, the guy ranked as the probable #1 pick out of all college bball, in a down year for us as we flirt with not making the tourney … that’s a tragedy, in perspective



  13. catcrawler
    12:01 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    Still not ready to accept it…. I have two more days to stay depressed. Get ready to see more Hood.



  14. Linda Taylor
    12:04 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    Old School – We saw that the first time you posted it too. Do you realize Nerlens is the son of Haitian immigrants. I don’t think he needed any kind of a wake-up call to know how fortunate he is, both to be in this country and to have the talent and opportunity he has been blessed with. The very fact of how sensitive he is to those who are not as fortunate as he is illustrates his appreciation of those blessings. Remember also that he had to promise to his parents that he would finish his education before Cal would offer him a scholarship. You conveniently seem to forget this fact. He does not seem to be the kind of kid who would break a promise he made to his parents and I fully expect he will finish his education one day. But right now if his recovery goes as expected I hope he does what is best for him and that would be going pro. He would lose millions each year he cuts his pro career short by staying in college. He can finish college online and during the summer and after his professional career is over.



  15. UKBlue
    12:07 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    The hardest part is knowing we as fans have no control especially in stopping something horrible like this from happening. This could have been any player on any team, unfortunately it happened to Noel & UK. This should make all of us appreciate last season even more because this could have very easily have happened to Davis or MKG & totally have changed everything. All we can do is cheer for our team, send best wishes & support to our boy Noel thru this trying time, and just keep being the BBN. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen especially the rest of the season.



  16. Chad
    12:23 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    Dream starting line up next year
    PG- Harrison
    SG- Harrison/Young
    SF- Harrison/young/Wiggins
    PF- Wiggins/ Lee/ Poythress
    C- Noel (want him to do what is best but this again “dream”)



  17. JBR
    12:34 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    6 THANK YOU g-unit, as always, the ksr writers like to leave things hanging with a little hint that there may be “more to the story”, but not elaborating at all.

    I wish you would start your own football website because you always have much more and more accurate info than this site.

    And don’t worry about #9…she likes to preach from her pedestal and referee the comments section.



  18. Linda Taylor
    12:39 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    The great mare Rachel Alexandra is in serious condition following surgery to repair her colon which was bruised while foaling a 140-pound filly by Bernardini. The filly is healthy. This has just been an all-around miserable 36 hours. Hopefully she will be fine and we will not hear any more bad news.



  19. Linda Taylor
    12:42 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    18 – You know JBR after a miserable day like today there are two words I want to say to you, but I won’t.



  20. g-unit
    12:42 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    8-18

    Notice they have taken the post down about Nate Willis now…lol



  21. Linda Taylor
    12:52 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    g-unit – I just thought you might want to know here in Lex it was all over the local news that Nate Willis had been lost to academic issues too.



  22. Mark Liptak
    1:07 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    Just FYI, Derrick Rose tonight told the Chicago Tribune that 10 months after his ACL surgery his leg “still doesn’t feel right…” and that he’s O.K. with sitting out the entire season if he has to. http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/ct-spt-0214-d-rose-bulls-celtics-chicago–2-20130214,0,7620928.story

    I say that in the context of Noel’s injury and all the stories that came out, I assume from official sources, that his rehab / recovery will be 6-8 months.

    I hope that’s the case and maybe his injury isn’t as bad as Rose’s but it’s just something to keep in mind. This could be a lot longer than 6-8 months and that’s going to impact whatever decision he makes.

    Mark Liptak



  23. BAdams
    1:35 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    6, they are not journalists, they are bloggers. 11, have you seen Archie play? he single handedly disrupt the flow of the game after we came out strong the first couple of minutes. He should have been benched at the 16 minute mark. Archie and Ryan kill us offensively and its about time Cal sits them a lot more until they can learn. As far as Alex goes, hes so up and down you cant depend on him either. We will find out next game who we can depend on, and I’m just not sure Archie is one them. He is the most frustrating player I have watched since Ramel Bradleys first couple of years. And if we continue to play like we did last night, the season is over. Florida did not beat us, we beat us. The turnovers were ridiculous and we played scared and stupid. We looked like a bunch of special ed elementary kids our there trying to play against the pros. It was a stupid dumb pass that led to Noel hurting himself. We will find out Saturday if the rest of the season is a waste or not. I will continue to support them no matter what, but I am being a realist.



  24. AP
    1:56 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    6 months is when you can first start playing again. The rest depends on how long it takes you to gain back violent cuts and stuff. Takes time for sure. Adrien Peterson is an exception. Some people never gain the confidence back in their knees. My first acl tear I was back quick but it’s been over a year on my most recent repair and Im still hesitant to cut hard or plant that leg for step backs.



  25. SeaCat
    2:38 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    It is not just an ACL.
    The MCL is gone also.
    Probably the meniscus too.
    The poor kid tried too hard
    to make another block.
    So sad…



  26. Iucansuckabigblue.....
    3:22 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    Come on back home with me Wildcats. Rex Chapman dunking all over Loseville and is being so loud no one could hear the whistle. Anthony Davis blocking Hensen in the last seconds to beat UNC. McCarty drilling 3’s to beat LSU and comeback from 31. Patrick Sparks 3 hanging on the rim in the 05 Tourney and Chucky not wanting to leave the bench for the last time. Jorts wearing the net around his neck and coming back home to a circus of blue. Nerlens running down the court after a nasty block and almost ripping the rim off after a thundering dunk.

    Come on back home with me. The Comeback Cats smashing pUKe in the 98 Ncaa on the way to number 7. Baby boy Darius getting off the bus with the hearts and tears clenched firmly around the Championship trophy…..

    The days are dark right now. We will come out of this. We all wish we could help Nerlens but what’s done is done. We hope you stay but understand if you go. You will always be a Wildcat and we will always welcome you back with open arms.

    With very very very heavy hearts Go Big Blue……. 🙁



  27. Well not literally
    4:30 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    Cayley-stein literally has huge shoes to fill? Oh you meant figuratively. Nerlens literally does have large shoes though



  28. Well not literally
    4:31 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    *cauley



  29. Robro
    4:45 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    I stood by my Cats thru billy g…this isn’t half as bad!! If you are making comments like, “im just waiting for football season” then go be a cards fan, where fair weather is acceptable…I bleed blue and could give a hoot about anyone’s criticism..I believe in my coach and the Cats will be in the Tourney and compete!



  30. hahahaha
    6:03 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    25 great +1



  31. niaps
    6:04 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    I just want to say THANK YOU NERLENS for being a Kentucky Wildcat. You are a class guy, you played your butt off EVERY game, and you did it with dignity. No true Cat fan will forget you and will always hold you in high regard. To a good man like you I wish nothing but the best and look forward to seeing you in the NBA swatting shots and being another star from UK.



  32. Bobby Knight's Shrink
    6:13 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    #4 ..Well-stated….couldn’t have said it better….the funeral analogy is “spot-on” !



  33. Vol Fan
    6:37 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    We are going to whip your candy [email protected] on Satrurday.



  34. LuvDaCats
    6:41 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    Need a waiver from NCAA so that Noel can play on crutches.



  35. Goodwin
    6:50 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    Dont woory BBN, I was made for big games like this Saturday and like Cal said we play better on the road. I will do all I can, take all the shots and play 30 mins plus. Drive, drive, drive, passing is for losers. So dont worry, I will do everything and hopefully it will be enough.



  36. Goodwin
    6:52 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    I have been working on a few spin moves while driving that will definetly look good. No need to practice ft or jumpers. Cal loves me and plays me all the time so I cant be doing so bad.



  37. HeshimuEvans'2ndGradeTeacher
    6:57 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    #35 – I’ve heard rumors that you all actually existed, but didn’t believe till now



  38. Matt
    7:44 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    Hey TT when you guys have to delete comments on here is there any way to just remove the text but leave a place holder at whatever number it was? The easiest way to reply to someone’s comment on here is to put the number of their post at the beginning but when you guys have to remove a bunch of posts it throws everything off. Thanks



  39. BlueBlue
    7:56 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    35) Well look at that little Vol fan! What sport are guys good at now? Tennessee is irrelevant at everything they do and the Athletic Dept has no money. You guys are pathetic. What are you good at again? Women BBall? Baseball? Basketball? Football? No one knows or cares who UT is…go back to Knoxville and paint that on the rock you loser.



  40. Ridge Runner
    8:07 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    #Nerlens4theY



  41. Ridge Runner
    8:08 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    35, make sure you take time out to evaluate the next round of NCAA violations your school has.



  42. crazycatfan
    8:14 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    Great post! Ditto the Valentine request. NOEL – WILL YOU BE OUR VALENTINE??? You will always be in our hearts for who you are and how you gave your very best for the BBN. XOXO



  43. SMH
    8:20 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    An u gone be a great student at UK, to.



  44. philip
    8:28 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    Tyler no real member of BBN will write this team off. WCS will step up as Noel cheers him on. Really great post with the steps, anger was the best!!!



  45. deepblue
    8:52 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    Its foolish on a massive scale to think that this years team can achieve any real form of success at this point. They were a 9 seed before they lost the best player in the game. Your lying to yourselves if you think differently. There is a difference between what you wish to be true and what you know to be true.



  46. Reality
    8:55 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    I’m going to turn this negative into a positive! I got $100 on UT to beat the spread or cover on Saturday.



  47. Teach
    9:18 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    You should have linked this article by a Kentucky kid.

    http://4fansports.com/2013/02/13/nightmare/



  48. Prove It
    9:21 am February 14, 2013 Permalink

    Well Linda, something we can both agree on…wanting to punch oldschool in the face. Although I have a feeling that club has a large membership.