OKLAHOMA CITY — Thunder center Nerlens Noel was taken off the court on a stretcher in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game against Minnesota after the Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins made contact with him on a dunk attempt.
Noel took an elbow in the face as Wiggins went up, and Noel’s head hit the ground hard. A defensive foul was called on Noel. The play was reviewed, and no additional fouls were called. Noel was down for several minutes before being taken from the court. Players from both teams jawed at each other while Noel was on the ground.
Thunder coach Billy Donovan said after the game that Noel was taken to the University of Oklahoma’s OU Medical Center. He did not offer details on the injury.
Wiggins said he didn’t mean to hurt Noel.
“I just tried to make an aggressive move and dunk,” Wiggins said. “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.”
A few minutes after the collision, there was a skirmish between Thunder guard Dennis Schroder and Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague. Two technicals were called on Teague and he was ejected. Schroder also was called for a technical.
Minnesota won the game 119-117.