Philadelphia 76ers: Should Nerlens Noel return this season?

The Philadelphia 76ers took a huge risk this past summer when they traded for Nerlens Noel.  They gave their franchise point guard, Jrue Holiday, to the New Orleans Pelicans for Noel and a first round draft pick.

Noel only played half a season in his one year at the University of Kentucky after tearing his ACL back in February of 2013.  The statistics he produced were decent, but it was debatable as to whether or not he was worth losing Holiday.

This question is still unanswered since Noel has yet to compete in an NBA game.  Prior to the start of the 2013-2014 season, the Sixers announced that Noel would not be playing at all as he recovered from his injury.

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The organization knew how they wanted to approach the season as they were aware of how many games the team would lose.  Therefore, they did not want to risk the future status of Noel by bringing him back to early.

Several months have passed and each day Noel has progressed towards becoming 100 percent.  The Sixers’ training staff has done an excellent job with Noel and his recovery as he is way ahead of schedule.

With Noel being far along in his rehabilitation process, this is definitely a positive.  However, some may see it differently.

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It is good to see that Noel is committed towards getting better with his knee and is taking every possible step to make sure he is healthy.  With Noel at 100 percent, he will help bring much-needed talent to the Sixers team.

With Noel moving through his recovery so quickly, he now feels as if he is ready to come back and play.  Yesterday, Noel’s post on Twitter implied he might return to action April 4th on the road against the Boston Celtics.  Noel is from the Boston area.

Noel has put in the work to recover from a difficult injury and deserves the opportunity to come back early and give it a go.  However, with the Sixers’ current situation, that may not be the best decision.

The Sixers have lost a league-leading 16 games in a row, which will likely continue to rise.  They have been getting slaughtered by every team in the league and have been a true embarrassment to the NBA.

As strange as it may sound, it now makes even more sense for Noel not to come back this season.  There is too much risk involved by having him play and there will be little reward in return.

If he plays, it will help him get his feet wet in the NBA in preparation for next season.  He could perhaps get rid of the goose bumps he may have by going out there when there is nothing to lose.

If he is to return on April 4th, that would only give him seven games before the end of the season.  He most likely would not accomplish anything in those seven games and would only jeopardize his health.

The Sixers invested heavily in Noel and certainly would not want to see him reinjure his knee after he put all the work in to get back to his normal self.  If he continues to sit out for the remainder of the season, he will have another full offseason of recovery and can come back next year fully healthy.

Bringing him back early would give this horrific Sixers team something to look forward to, but in the end would not be worth it.  Noel, along with Michael Carter-Williams, are the team’s most prized possessions, so throwing Noel in to the fire would be a mistake.

The Sixers’ nightmare is coming to an end as they only have to suffer for a little more than a month.  If they can manage to get to the end without any injuries and maybe one more win, they would have to see that as being somewhat positive.

The organization should realize that there is nothing to gain by having Noel play.  If he is to come back early, it could only make matters worse and hinder what they are preparing for in upcoming seasons.

Noel needs to continue to put in the necessary work to complete his recovery and he will be fine.  There will be plenty of opportunities for him to show what he can do, but it should wait until next season.

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  • Deb Sams

    NOEL, was not a good investment in my eyes. Jrue is doing great with Boston. If we still had those guys that Brent traded we might not be such “BUMS” right now!!!