Cats Set to Begin Life Without Noel - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Cats Set to Begin Life Without Noel

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky players have had three days to digest the impact of Nerlens Noel's season-ending knee injury.

Saturday's Southeastern Conference game at Tennessee will be the No. 25 Wildcats' first gut check since enduring the enormous setback.

Kentucky's star freshman forward tore his left ACL in a 69-52 loss Tuesday night at Florida. The devastating injury will mean a new rotation for the young Wildcats (17-7, 8-3), who struggled to develop chemistry this season even with the nation's top shot blocker on the floor.

Besides raising their games to offset the loss of Noel's contributions on both ends of the floor, Kentucky players must do it quickly to slow Tennessee (13-10, 5-6). The Volunteers have won four of their last six behind forward Jarnell Stokes, who has posted six straight double-doubles.

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