The day after the 76ers 16th straight loss at the hands of the Utah Jazz, the one remaining point of interest with the organization gave his Twitter followers something to run with.
— Nerlens Noel (@NerlensNoel3) March 9, 2014
Nerlens Noel, the player acquired by the team in the Jrue Holiday draft-night trade, has been recovering from a devastating ACL tear since last February. Many assumed that, in line with the rest of the 76ers franchise’s philosophy for 2013-2014, that the shot-blocking big man from Kentucky would spend the entire season rehabbing and refining some of the rough edges of his game.
Noel’s recovery and work with head coach Brett Brown has been a major focal point of this year’s 76ers team. With very little by the way of NBA-caliber talent, Noel is expected to step in as an impact starter whenever the doctor gave him a clean bill of health. Earlier this week, Noel participated in intensified full-team workouts which was a major step in his path to the court. Although the 76ers organization has not released any sort of formal announcement, there is a lot to pick through with Noel’s tweet.
On April 4th, the 76ers head to TD Garden to face the Boston Celtics in one of their last games of the season. Noel is a native of Malden, Massachusetts; a town a little over five miles from TD Garden. He is a noted fan of the Boston-area sports teams and appears to identify with the area.
— Nerlens Noel (@NerlensNoel3) January 19, 2014
For all of the work that Noel has put into his recovery, it would be a classy move by the organization to have his first game played in front of family and friends. There are many who would have preferred Noel miss the entire season, but bringing him back for the tail-end of the season could give the first year player some much-needed NBA reps before being thrust into live action in 2014-2015. If the team makes any sort of formal announcement, we’ll have an update. This just seems like a classic, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” situation. Stay tuned.