Nerlens Noel says he’s feeling like his old self, still no timetable

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The Philadelphia 76ers are not going to rush Nerlens Noel back on the court. More like the opposite. They are not in it for winning this season, they are in for the long haul and the lottery, which is why they took on Noel in a trade for Jrue Holiday — Noel has a high ceiling but is a project.

Noel is also coming off an ACL injury that ended his college career at Kentucky early.

Noel is in Philly working out and told Jeff Caplan of the Hang Time Blog at NBA.com he’s feeling good… but don’t look for a timeline on his return.

“I feel great. I’m really starting to feel like my old self, being able to have my explosiveness. But I’m definitely being careful with it,” Noel said. ”From Day 1, every time I was in rehab, the last few reps, I would just think how bad I want to get on the court because of how much I want to prove to myself that I can get back and be the player I want to be.”

Noel was an athletic player — remember he blew out his knee on a successful chasedown block. In an age when more mobile centers will be the norm, Noel could be the kind of shot blocking big who can run the floor the Sixers will need to go with… whoever they get in the draft.

But there is no rush to get him back on the court. None at all.