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Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel tore his ACL, out for the season

State Farm Champions Classic - Duke v Kentucky

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 13: Nerlens Noel #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts after their 75-68 loss to the Duke Blue Devils during the 2012 State Farm Champions Classic at Georgia Dome on November 13, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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The MRI results are in, and what we all suspected is now official: Nerlens Noel has torn the ACL in his left knee and will be out for the rest of the season.

Surgery is expected to be in the next two-to-three weeks, as they wait for the swelling in the knee to subside. The recovery time for a torn ACL is in the neighborhood of six-to-eight months.

It’s a tough pill to swallow. Noel was one of the most entertaining players in the country to watch, a shot-blocking pogo stick that was the one player on the Kentucky roster that could be relied on to play well and play hard on a nightly basis. By all accounts, he’s just a great kid off the court, too.

And it’s fitting, really: if last night ends up being the last time that Noel dons a Kentucky jersey, his final play as a Wildcat will be tracking down a player on a breakaway and blocking a layup attempt. It would be poetic if it wasn’t so depressing.

That said, torn ACLs are not career-ending injuries. He’ll be able to come back from this. Here’s to hoping for a speedy recovery.

Minor setback for a MAJOR comeback!I love you all and can’t thank y’all enough for the prayers.

— Nerlens Noel (@NerlensNoel3) February 13, 2013

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.