Noel was contesting a dunk midway through the third quarter when Andrew Wiggins’ elbowed him in the face, knocking him to the floor.
Thunder big man Nerlens Noel, taken off the court on a stretcher after a scary fall Tuesday night, was expected to be hospitalized overnight as a precaution, according to ESPN.com.
Noel, 24, was contesting a dunk midway through the third quarter when the Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins’ elbow hit him in the face. Noel then fell and banged the side of his head on the floor. He appeared to briefly lose consciousness but was moving as medical personal tended to him.
Brutal fall for Nerlens Noel who was immediately met by the Thunder’s medical team and stretcher. pic.twitter.com/us59JxhTx5
— Up The Thunder (@UpTheThunder) January 9, 2019
Thunder coach Billy Donovan said Noel was taken to OU Medical Center, but the team offered no more details. An update is expected Wednesday.
After the play, Thunder guard Dennis Schroder was seen talking to the Timberwolves as they huddled, NewsOK.com reported. Though Noel was called for a foul on the play, Schroder apparently was unhappy about the incident and was exchanging words with Wiggins.
Wiggins addressed the incident in a tweet later in the night.
My prayers out to you 🙏🏾 @NerlensNoel3
— andrew wiggins (@22wiggins) January 9, 2019
After the game, Thunder center Steven Adams said Wiggins didn’t intentionally try to hurt Noel.
“It was just a really s— play and unfortunate that it happened,” Adams said. “Obviously, Wiggins didn’t mean to do any of that. He shouldn’t be taking any blame for that whatsoever. It’s just one of those crazy plays that happen. Fortunately they responded quite quickly, the medical staff. We felt like he was in the best hands at the time.”
Noel is averaging five points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 2018-19.
The Thunder went on to lose to to the Timberwolves, 119-117, dropping them to 25-15 on the season. But that