As if losing to Florida by double-digits wasn't bad enough, Kentucky might have to deal with an even bigger loss, as freshman forward Nerlens Noel went down with an apparent left knee injury around the midway point of the second half in the Wildcats' 69-52 defeat Tuesday night.
Noel, who leads the nation in blocked shots with 4 1/2 per game, landed awkwardly after chasing down UF's Mike Rosario on a fast break layup with 8:03 to play. He blocked the shot along the way, after his own turnover forced the opportunity in the first place, but remained laying in pain on the ground for several minutes.
"We took him to the hospital, we're going to get him checked out," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "We just all got together as a team and prayed for him for a minute and then sent him to the hospital. It's unfortunate, and I just hope and pray that he's ok, but we're going to see."
As the crowd went silent, and Noel could be heard in agony, his fellow teammates carried the stud freshman off the court and into the locker room. He finished with eight points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
Noel, who has averages of 10.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per contest in 23 games this season, has been a focal point of Kentucky's recent success after a slow start earlier in the year.
"I'm physically sick right now for him, and if it were a walk-on, I'd be sick for that young man, too," Calipari added. "What I'm hoping is it's not the extreme. Hoping it's some sort of twist, but again, we don't know."