Report: Nerlens Noel to Join Delaware 87ers for Rehab Assginment
According to Marc Spears of ESPN, the Sixers will send center Nerlens Noel down to the Delaware 87ers for a rehab assignment.
The 87ers are the D-League affiliate for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Noel has yet to play this season after suffering an inflamed plica in his left knee during training camp. Noel underwent surgery in late October to correct the issue.
Noel began rehabilitation of the injury in Alabama with Kevin Wilk of Champion Sports Medicine, where he previously received rehabilitation when returning from the ACL injury he suffered while at Kentucky. Noel returned to Philadelphia on November 18th to continue his rehab with the team.
According to Marc Stein, Noel is headed to the D-League purely to rehab his injury and won’t appear in game action for the 87ers, similar to what the team did with Jerryd Bayless. Bayless was sent down to the 87ers on November 14th and was recalled two days later, eventually making his season debut on November 21st.
So far Noel has only participated in one-on-none and one-on-one activities since rejoining the Sixers on November 18th, according to a source. Noel is expected to begin participating in scrimmages while at Delaware, but that is dependent on how his injury reacts to the increased workload.
Brett Brown and his staff have been limited in the number of practices they’ve been able to hold of late due to their hectic schedule. The 76ers have not had consecutive days off since early November and have three games over the next four days, whereas Delaware does not play again until Sunday. Sending Noel down to Delaware will allow him to get more practice time over the next few days.
Noel could help stabilize a defense that has struggled to compete when center Joel Embiid has been on the bench. Opponents are shooting just 42.2 percent against the Sixers with Embiid in the game, compared to 47.3 percent when Embiid has been off the floor. Having Noel available to play would give Brown another defensive anchor in the front court.
Noel averaged 11.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.5 blocked shots per game last season, playing much of the year out of position at the power forward spot. Since the start of the 2014-15 season there have been seven players to average at least 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game in a season, a feat that Noel has accomplished both seasons he’s been in the league.
There is still no timeline for when Noel will be able to return to game action. How his knee responds to his increased workload, including scrimmaging, will help determine that.
Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.