Noel says he still thinks he can play this season

Posted: December 18, 2013

BROOKLYN - The last time 76ers rookie Nerlens Noel spoke with the local media was on Media Day in September, the day before training camp began. He won't talk, according to the Sixers' public relations department, until he starts practicing 5-on-5 with the team.

So it initially was a little disturbing that Noel did an interview on SiriusXM radio yesterday. Turns out, the Sixers' PR department had nothing to do with it. Anyway, here's what Noel had to say about his recovering knee and what the outlook is.

"We're just taking our time with it, being cautious with things," he said on NBA Radio. "I'm definitely worried about my health, but regards to the whole season, that decision hasn't been made up. I still have to meet up with my doctors - Dr. [James] Andrews and Dr. Kevin Wilk - and come to a conclusion with that."

He was then asked whether he might be able to play this season. His response was a simple: "There's a possibility."

Coach Brett Brown said he's happy with Noel's progress, but has said, mostly in roundabout ways, that Noel won't be debuting this season.

"I think he's doing fine," Brown said. "I think his spirits are fine, I think his body, physically, continues to develop and look good. He likes wearing those tight shirts, and I'm proud of him. If I had a body like that, I'd do the same. Physically, he's coming around and buying into it. His shot is continuing to develop. We've kept a real simple plan and a consistent plan."

Here are some numbers to ponder about the Sixers:

* Backup point guard Lorenzo Brown had 10 turnovers in the past three games, in a total of a little more than 43 minutes. He had one in the first nine games he played and none last night.

* 1-10. That's the Sixers' record in the 11 games that Michael Carter-Williams has missed because of injury.

* Nine points, 5.4 rebounds, 51.9 percent shooting. Those are Hollis Thompson's numbers in his first eight games as a starter. He ranked first among rookies in field-goal percentage (48.6 percent) and second in three-point shooting (36.6 percent).

* Six NBA players were averaging at least 19 points, six rebounds and three assists for the season. Evan Turner was one. The others were Luol Deng, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, LeBron James and Kevin Love.

* Over his previous 10 games, Turner has made 15 of 29 from three-point range. In the first 16 games of the season, he made only seven of 43.

* Turner is 31-for-87 (35.6 percent) in his past six games.

* In 10 previous games as a starter before last night, Tony Wroten was averaging 18.9 points, 5.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds. In his past three games, he has made eight of 17 from three-point range, after making only six of his previous 40.

* Thaddeus Young was averaging 4.7 rebounds over the previous three games before last night after grabbing 11 against the Los Angeles Clippers. He had four last night.

* The Sixers, who allowed 130 points by Brooklyn last night, already were allowing 110.4 a game, worst in the league by more than seven points.

* The Sixers were the worst in the league at turning the ball over, at 17.9 a game. Last night, they turned it over 21 times.

* In the two games before last night, the Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers combined to make 31 of 62 from three-point range against the Sixers. The Nets made 21 of 35.

* And last, but not least, the team's record in games decided by 10 points or more is 1-14.

Nets center Brook Lopez was held out of last night's game with a sprained left ankle. Coach Jason Kidd said Lopez was taped and ready to go at the morning shootaround, but the coach didn't like the way Lopez was moving, so he decided to sit him another game.

It has become sort of a trend for teams to be without a top player when going against the Sixers. Lopez joins a list that includes Dwyane Wade, Nene, Tim Duncan, James Harden and Ty Lawson, all of whom were sidelined against the Sixers.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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