Thunder’s Nerlens Noel Has Concussion Mid-Game Vs. Timberwolves After Falling On Face [VIDEO]
Moments before this, Minnesota Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins had driven in for a routine dunk. Noel went to block the attempt but was struck by Wiggins’ elbow. He then fell over ten feet head first onto the hardwood floor.
In a video of the incident, Noel isn’t seen bracing for a fall, leaving some to believe that the elbow knocked him out. Here’s a video of the play that led up to the injury:
Note that trainers first check Noel’s vitals and activate the Emergency Action Plan, seen with the raised fist signal. Then, they have their hands around his neck, performing “in-line stabilization.” This is done to prevent the cervical neck from moving and injuring the spinal cord if there is a cervical vertebrae fracture. Luckily, Noel only sustained a concussion and avoided any fractures.
After scary fall last night, Oklahoma City Thunder center Nerlens Noel has been diagnosed with a concussion — and tests showed he avoided any fractures, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 9, 2019
When the injury first happened, the worst was expected. In the video, Russell Westbrook can be heard screaming from the bench for help. After the game, some called for the league to look into offensive fouls. In this case, Noel was in the correct defensive position, Wiggins made a completely legal play with his elbow, and yet Noel still ended up unconscious.
“I just tried to make an aggressive move and dunk,” Wiggins said. “He tried to contest it. I think he fell wrong. I didn’t really see it until I saw him on the ground. Hopefully he’s good. I hope nothing but the best for him. I hope he gets healthy soon and comes back stronger.”
After the game, Wiggins tweeted out prayers for Noel. He wrote, “My prayers out to you.”
My prayers out to you 🙏🏾 @NerlensNoel3
— andrew wiggins (@22wiggins) January 9, 2019
Wiggins ended the game with 40 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Wiggins received loads of criticism this season but seems to be fighting back after the Timberwolves made a coaching change. This season has been a career-rejuvenating one for both him and Noel.