76ers rookie Nerlens Noel has not played this season because of a knee injury he suffered last year. (Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers rookie center Nerlens Noel says his injured knee is 100 percent healthy. But with five games remaining on the schedule, he's still unlikely to see any action this season.
The 6-foot-11 Noel tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in February 2013 while at Kentucky. He was drafted sixth overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2013 NBA Draft, then traded to the 76ers.
"Obviously I do want to play," Noel said, via ESPN.com. "I'm a 19-year-old who's been sitting down on the sideline really wanting to get out there and show my abilities and to be able to play ball.
"It's been tough, but it's something we had to do."
Noel said he has gained over three inches on his vertical leap since before the surgery, and is "stronger and moving around well."
"I am very encouraged," Noel said. "Through the past year since I had my injury, I have pushed myself through thick and thin and I've had some struggles and I've just stayed with it.
"I definitely worked my butt off to get where I am at now."
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The 76ers are 17-60 this season.