Injured Kentucky center looks ahead to NBA draft

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Associated Press

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 25 at 2:00 PM

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Nerlens Noel continues to take small steps toward returning to the court following surgery on his left knee.

He's shed his crutches and exercising without a knee brace. Though he wouldn't specify want types of exercises, it's all all signs his recovery is ahead of schedule — and each stride is important with the NBA draft looming.

Noel said Tuesday that he's "doing good" after the March 12 operation to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The 6-foot-10 center expects to return to the court by Christmas, a long road back likely to involve countless hours rehabbing in an NBA facility.

Noel likely won't stay long on teams' draft boards and could become Kentucky's third No. 1 overall pick in four years at the June 27 event in New York.

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