The Philadelphia 76ers have been dealt another blow as forward Nerlens Noel will miss three to five weeks to undergo surgery on his left knee, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Noel, 22, will go under the knife on Monday in New York to take care of an inflamed plica above his left knee. He has not played or practiced with the team since October 6 and due to the surgery, he will be inactive the October 31 deadline for a rookie contract extension. However, before the injury, an extension with the 76ers was not in the cards.
“It’s not really something that we’ve discussed, given some of the concerns that I think Nerlens has had, right now,” Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said.“There’s been very little – if any – discussion with his agents about any extension scenarios.”
With last year’s first-round pick Jahlil Okafor and the returning Joel Embiid on the roster, Noel has seen his name come up in trade rumors since last season. In the onset of training camp, Noel voiced his concern with the 76ers’ logjam at the center position.
“I think it’s just silly… this situation that we are in now with three starting centers,” Noel said. “With the departure of [former GM] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to get something done this summer. … I think something needs to happen.”
Noel has shown to be a capable rebounder and defender in his first two NBA seasons. In 142 games with the 76ers, Noel has averaged 10.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 30.1 minutes per game.
However, a decision on Noel in Philly will now be put on hold until he returns. With Ben Simmons, the 76ers’ first round pick this year, expected to be sidelined until January with a broken foot, the team’s depth has taken a hit.