Thunder's Nerlens Noel placed in NBA concussion protocol

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nerlens Noel (3) dunks in front of Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng (5) and forward Dario Saric during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nerlens Noel is wheeled off the court on a stretcher in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Thunder's Nerlens Noel has been placed in the NBA's concussion protocol after he collided with Andrew Wiggins and hit the floor Tuesday night during Oklahoma City's game with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The team announced that Noel was held overnight at the University of Oklahoma's hospital for tests and observations and was released Wednesday. There is no timetable for Noel to complete the protocol process.

Noel took an elbow in the face as Wiggins drove to the basket, and Noel's head hit the ground hard . The team said Noel lost consciousness while being knocked to the floor. A defensive foul was called on Noel. The play was reviewed, and no additional fouls were accessed. Noel was down for several minutes before being taken from the court on a stretcher. Players from both teams exchanged words while Noel was on the ground.

Noel has been a critical reserve for the Thunder this season, averaging 5.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 14 minutes per contest.

Wiggins said he was not trying 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.

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