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The well-coiffed Kentucky big man and potential NBA top pick is rehabbing after ACL surgery and eager to show he's ready to go.
DAN PATRICK: When do you expect to be back 100 percent?
NERLENS NOEL: My physical therapist says I'm ahead of schedule. I'm moving pretty good at the five-week point. I'm just taking it slowly.
DP: When did you realize how serious your injury was?
NN: When I went down [against Florida], I was in shock. I tried to stay strong. When I saw the MRI, I was nervous to hear it was an ACL. But I just stayed focused and got my mind together.
DP: How did it go when you told Coach Calipari you wanted to go to the NBA?
NN: I went into his office, and he told me he'd love to have me back. It was a couple of days after the injury. It was up to me. We had to put it into perspective whether I'd drop a few picks. I analyzed what I had to do and stuck to my physical therapy. I think I made a good decision to declare.
DP: Was there any chance of your staying at Kentucky?