Nerlens Noel (knee) helped off court

Updated: February 13, 2013, 2:43 PM ET
By Michael DiRocco | GatorNation

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Kentucky may have lost more than just a basketball game on Tuesday night.

The No. 25 Wildcats also may be without freshman forward Nerlens Noel for a significant length of time because of a left knee injury he suffered during the second half of their 69-52 loss to No. 7 Florida. The 6-foot-10 Noel landed awkwardly on his left knee and then slammed the knee into the basket support after chasing down Mike Rosario on a fast break and blocking the shot with 8:03 left.

"I didn't see much," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "They said it looked ugly, so I don't know. We'll have to see."

X-rays taken Tuesday night did not reveal any break or fracture.

Noel, who left the O'Connell Center in a wheelchair, flew back to Lexington, Ky., with the rest of the team and was back in his dorm room resting Wednesday morning, waiting for an MRI to be scheduled.

"His leg was wobbly, knee looked dislocated," Florida center Patric Young told the Palm Beach Post. "It was gruesome. I don't want to think about it."

Noel immediately grabbed his left knee and screamed in pain. Trainers immediately rushed to his side and Calipari eventually came over and stayed with Noel until he was carried off the court by several teammates.

"He was yelling and screaming, so that's why I stayed [with him on the floor]," Calipari said. "But it's unfortunate and I just hope and pray that he's OK, but we're going to see."

Losing Noel would be a blow to the Wildcats (17-7, 8-3 SEC), who now trail Florida (20-3, 10-1) by two games in the SEC standings. Noel leads the nation in blocked shots (4.5 per game) and averages 10.6 points per game and is second in the SEC in rebounding (9.6 per game).

Kentucky had been threatening to cut Florida's lead to single digits before Noel was hurt, but the Wildcats didn't score for nearly four minutes after his injury.

"Obviously, he's a big part of our team so to see him go down is a reminder [of how important he is]," Kentucky guard Julius Mays said. "It hurts us because he is a big guy and he makes the game different."

Calipari said he did not want to speculate about the injury or any possible recovery period.

"I'm physically sick right now," Calipari said. "What I'm hoping is it's not the extreme. I'm hoping it's some sort of twist, but we don't know."

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said Wednesday the padded stanchion Noel ran into was set at an NCAA minimum of 8 feet from the backboard.

"That's what the building fits," Foley said. "That's what a lot of buildings fit. We checked with the manufacturer this morning and they said Kansas is at 8 feet -- Michigan, the Utah Jazz, Miami Heat.

"It's not abnormal. It was just unfortunate," Foley added. "We hope he's OK. He's a great player.''

Information from ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz was used in this report.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

ALSO SEE