The Philadelphia 76ers drafted former Kentucky center Nerlens Noel last year with the understanding that his 2013-14 rookie season would not matter, and that in fact his rookie season may not even take place in 2013-14. Noel, who suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during the second week of February last year, was traded for by a rebuilding 76ers squad that was bent on punting the entire year in order to develop a solid core, and acquire draft assets for the loaded 2014 NBA draft.

Initially, it was thought that Noel would see at least some token action from the Sixers this year, but before the season even started Philly coach Brett Brown tossed some cold water on that idea, telling the press that Noel may not play this season because not only did the team want to be mindful of his ACL rehabilitation, they wanted to “start a bit from ground zero” with his still-developing and very raw overall game.

On Wednesday, ESPN.com reported that the Sixers and Noel’s surgeon announced that he had been cleared to resume basketball-related activities. Noel’s surgeon, the famed Dr. James Andrews, also pointed out that Noel was “doing excellent,” with one source suggesting that Dr. Andrews (who met with the 19-year old last week) thought Nerlens was fit to return to practice. Prior to this, Noel’s only time spent with an actual basketball included him working in shooting drills with head coach Brown and player development coach Greg Foster, a former solid-shooting big man for the Jazz and Lakers.