Nerlens Noel is about 18 months removed from his ACL tear during his time at Kentucky. He’s 100 percent recovered and more importantly, he’s ready to step on the floor as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. However, 18 months is a long rehab, especially when Noel had to sit and watch the 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers from the bench all season. One can imagine how tough that was for the young rookie and he enlisted some help of an NBA champion to get him through the tough times.
That NBA champion would be none other than Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who tore his ACL during the 2012-2013 season, helped him more than anyone else during his rehab process. The Celtics point guard may be a rival of the 76ers, but Noel is from Massachusetts and grew up as a fan of the Celts. Here’s what Nerlens Noel had to say about Rondo during an interview with CBS Sports:
Is it important to you now that you’ve been through it to talk to other guys if they go down with that same injury?
Oh yeah, yeah. Definitely, definitely. With all the support and love, certain guys, especiallyRajon Rondo — he was definitely the biggest helper through this whole process, he actually gave me his phone number and told me I could hit him up whenever about it. Being from Boston, watching him growing up, and he went through it and he came back as strong as possible, actually before me, so it gave me a lot of confidence, having his good faith.
Is that kind of crazy, being a Celtics fan growing up, to get to know him on a personal level?
Yeah, definitely. That’s definitely what made it even more of a thrill. Being able to interact with Rondo and get good advice from him, ’cause he’s more of a veteran point guard now in this league, gone through so much with the Big 3, he’s a world champion, he’s a player who’s very mature in this league now. So definitely, it was crazy. I took a lot from him.
Even though Rondo helped Noel through his ACL rehab process, don’t expect him to back down from the All-Star point guard when he roams into the paint during the first matchup between the two rivals.