Kentucky announced Wednesday that MRI results revealed that Nerlens Noel has a torn ACL in his left knee and will require season-ending surgery.
The freshman center suffered the injury with 8:03 remaining in Tuesday's 69-52 loss at Florida after hustling back on defense to block a shot. He landed awkwardly, appearing to dislocate his knee. X-Rays were negative for a break, but an MRI showed ligament damage.
UK officials say Noel will have surgery in two to three weeks and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight months.
"I've been coaching for 22 years, and this is the first injury we've had of this kind during the season, which makes it even more devastating," John Calipari said on his CoachCal.com website. "I met with Nerlens earlier today. The meeting was really positive, and I loved his attitude. The way he is already dealing with this injury lets me know that he is going to come back stronger than ever.
"The good news is, he is insured, so he would have been fine even if the injury would have been worse," Calipari added. "Obviously this is not a career-ending injury and it's one that athletes bounce back from all the time."
Noel posted a message on his Twitter social networking account: "Minor setback for a MAJOR comeback! I love you all and can't thank y'all enough for the prayers."
The 6-10 Noel was leading the nation in blocks (106) and blocks per game (4.4) and ranked second in the Southeastern Conference in rebounding (9.5). He was also averaging 10.5 points per game for the Wildcats, who return to action Saturday at Tennessee.
Freshman center Willie Cauley-Stein (7.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) is expected to move into the starting lineup in Noel's absence for UK (17-7, 8-3 SEC).
Kentucky center Nerlens Noel has been named SEC Freshman of the Week for the fourth consecutive week…