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Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Noel's injury a heartbreaker

By Dick Vitale

I was absolutely heartbroken with the news that Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel will be out for the rest of the season. He suffered a torn ACL on Tuesday night against Florida.

The injury occurred on a hustle play as Noel was trying to stop a Gator from getting a layup.

Noel is a quality kid. I spoke to him last year when he was in high school, and also this year. It is a shame that he is done for the season.

Nerlens Noel
Nerlens Noel injured his left knee during the second half of Kentucky's 69-52 loss to No. 7 Florida.

Kentucky will have to get more out of Willie Cauley-Stein. Others will have to step up. I still believe that John Calipari's team will win enough games to make it to the Big Dance. There are not that many tough games left on the schedule, but the Wildcats will have to make adjustments with Noel out of the lineup.

It is not easy to replace the nation's leader in blocked shots. Noel also changed the shots of the opponents, and his presence was measured in more than just statistics.

As for Noel's future, it is hard to say what he will do. I know that ESPN's Chad Ford had him as the No. 1 pick in the draft based on his potential.

For now, Big Blue nation has to be very sad with this news.