Video: Nerlens Noel Hospitalized after Nasty Fall Vs Minnesota

Nerlens Noel
Nerlens Noel, #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder, looks to pass against Jeff Green #32 of the Washington Wizards during the second half at Capital One Arena on November 2, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Will Newton/Getty Images

Oklahoma City Thunder center Nerlens Noel was hospitalized after hitting the floor heavily in a nasty fall on Tuesday night. The incident appeared to be completely accidental and unfolded as the 24-year-old tried to prevent Minnesota Timberwolves wing Andrew Wiggins from dunking.

Warning: The video below contains images some might find distressing

Oklahoma is stunned in silence after Nerlens Noel copped a nasty double hit to the head...

Prayers up 🙏 #ThunderUp pic.twitter.com/QDooPkwzgs

— US Basketball by Sportsmate (@ProBBallLive) January 9, 2019

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As he went up to stop Wiggins, Noel was hit by an elbow in the face and lost balance, landing heavily on his right side. His head seemingly bounced off the floor and he briefly appears to lose consciousness.

Players and fans immediately grasped the seriousness of the situation as silence descended on the arena, while the Thunder medical staff rushed onto the court to help Noel.

Prayers up for Nerlens Noel. The Thunder big man caught an elbow, hit his head and had to be stretchered off 🙏 pic.twitter.com/22qPKtz1l6

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 9, 2019

Billy Donovan says Nerlens Noel is at OU Medical Center currently, and doesn't have any more details other than that.

— Royce Young (@royceyoung) January 9, 2019

The 24-year-old was motionless for several minutes but was conscious when he was being taken off the court on a stretcher and then to the OU Medical Center in Oklahoma, where he would be held overnight.

After the game, Wiggins explained the dynamic of the impact and wished his unfortunate colleague a speedy recovery.

"I just tried to make an aggressive move and dunk," the Timberwolves forward was quoted as saying by ESPN. "He tried to contest it. I think he fell wrong. I didn't really see it until I saw him on the ground. Hopefully, he's good. I hope nothing but the best for him. I hope he gets healthy soon and comes back stronger."

Asked what was going through his mind when Noel was lying motionless on the floor, Oklahoma star Russell Westbrook replied: "I'd rather not talk about it."

The Thunder did not release any details of Noel's condition and ESPN reported an official update was expected on Wednesday.

The number six overall pick of the 2013 draft is averaging 5.1 points and 4.6 rebounds in 13.1 minutes per game this season.

Noel's injury overshadowed a superb performance from Wiggins, who finished with 40 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, shooting 11 of 24 from the field.

Karl-Anthony Towns added 20 points and nine rebounds in 24 minutes as the Timberwolves won 119-117 to mark Ryan Saunders's first game in charge. The 32-year-old was promoted to the role of interim head coach after Minnesota fired Tom Thibodeau earlier this week.

Saunders, who has been part of the Timberwolves' coaching staff since 2014, was reluctant to take credit for the win.

"It's unbelievable how they stayed connected throughout the whole game," he told The Associated Press. "Down the stretch, there were so many times where we could have disbanded and then the crowd could have got into us. I can't say enough about that team."

The victrory extended the Timberwolves' winning streak to three games and improved their record to 20-21, meaning they are now two games behind the Los Angeles Lakers, who currently occupy the final playoff berth in the Western Conference.

Meanwhile, the Thunder slipped to 25-15 and have lost two games in a row. Oklahoma remains third in the Western Conference standings behind the Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors.