Simmons' injury likely ends talk of Noel-to-Celtics deal

Simmons' injury likely ends talk of Noel-to-Celtics deal

BOSTON – It would have been a fairy tale come true for many to see Massachusetts native Nerlens Noel donning a real, non-Photoshopped Celtics jersey this season.

So much for dreaming.

The likelihood of that happening anytime soon – or ever – doesn’t look good after the Sixers suffered yet another injury to one of its young big men.

No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons sustained a right foot injury that will reportedly keep the 6-foot-10 rookie out for at least three months.

While his injury certainly is a huge blow to Philadelphia’s overall depth, it still doesn’t add a tremendous amount of clarity to what’s still a pretty clogged up middle.

Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid all play center, although Noel can slide over and play some at power forward.

The cluster of bigs was at the heart of Noel’s frustration with the Sixers and his role in their plans.

“I feel like it definitely needs to be figured out," Noel told the Philadelphia Inquirer recently. "At the end of the day, again, you have three starting-caliber centers. And it's just not going to work to anybody's advantage having that on the same team. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated."

Noel has been clear from the jump that with the glut of big men on the roster, all he wanted was clarity as to how Philadelphia would proceed and what his role would be going forward.

But multiple sources told CSNNE.com that the 6-foot-11 from Malden, Mass., was open to the idea of being traded and that the Celtics were a team he wouldn’t mind joining.

However, that becomes more of a moot point in light of Simmons’ injury which will mark the fourth straight year that Philadelphia will be without one of its prized, lottery-pick (top-14) big men due to an injury for an extended period of time.

Noel fans should soak in Tuesday’s preseason game between Boston and Philadelphia.

Not only because it’ll be the first glimpse at this year’s Celtics team against someone other than itself.

But also because it’ll be one of the few times Celtics fans will see Noel this season on the floor with the Celtics, although him still being in a Sixers uniform probably isn’t what you had in mind.



NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

NBC Sports Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

1:25 - With half of the Celtics roster on the shelf, we’ve been able to see just how great a scorer Jayson Tatum can be. A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Girardi and Trenni Kusnierek discuss how Tatum compares to Celtics legend, Paul Pierce.

5:35 - The NFL Competition Committee is giving it their best shot at modifying the ‘catch rule’ and Tom Curran, Kyle Draper and Hardy try to wrap their heads around the proposed changes.

11:02 - The Bruins clinched a playoff berth despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Joe Haggerty joins Tom Giles to break down the game, which included another goal by Ryan Donato and a questionable call on a high hit on David Krejci.

Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday


Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday

The second opinion on Kyrie Irving’s sore left knee will be done on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.

Irving, who has missed the last four games, is expected to decide between having a surgical procedure performed to help alleviate some of the soreness, or continue to manage it with rest.


During the 2015 NBA Finals, Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap injury which was the beginning of Irving’s left knee issues.

While Irving has had soreness of some form during various stretches of play this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen him making progress recently.

“That knee is still sore,” Stevens said. “He’s worked really hard to manage it throughout the entire season. He’s had some pretty good days recently. I’m encouraged by the big picture.”

But Stevens has made it clear that he supports Irving getting a second opinion, adding that Irving’s absence is due to the knee being too sore for him to play at a level he’s accustomed to.

“He’s out because of knee soreness, not because we’re choosing to rest him,” Stevens said. “That’s the bottom line. Again, we want him to feel 110 percent. He wants to feel 110 percent. Obviously, we’re fortunate we created a cushion early on in the year with playoffs and everything else. This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest someone; it’s because he has a sore knee.”