LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Maybe no one knows best what Nerlens Noel is going through, or faces next, than Maegan Conwright. In December, the UK women’s player suffered a season-ending knee injury of her own.
“I think we’re going to be best friends in the training room,” Conwright said on Wednesday. “I think I’m going to see him a lot.”
Like most Wildcat fans, the junior from Arlington, Tx. watched as Noel fell to the floor, screaming in pain. It brought back her own painful memories.
Conwright said the hardest part was dealing with the initial shock of hearing that her anterior cruciate ligament had been torn.
“You take it in and realize you can’t take it back,” she said. “You’ve got to move on from that.”
While still walking with a limp, Conwright now is able to ride a stationary bike. She says every day of rehab is a grind, but she celebrates progress on her road to recovery, no matter how big or small.
“You’ve got to get excited, because it’s the type of injury where the little things matter. When something little happens, you should be really excited because that’s a really big step.”
“It’s a devastating injury to have, but you can come back from it,” she said. “You have to have that mindset. In rehab, you work just like you do every day in practice.”
Conwright said Noel faces some tough days ahead. Once he’s out of surgery, the work begins.
“You have to be mentally prepared. It’s going to hurt and you to do it every day for a long time.”
Conwright said she would reach out to Noel. She said the support of friends and teammates has helped her along the way.
“I know his team is going to help him. His coach is going to help him,” Conwright said. “He’s going to be good and he has to know that. Think of all the good things that will come out of this: you’ll come back stronger. You’ll come back better.”