"I doubt, everybody doubts that he's going to play this year," Brown said, according to ESPN.com. "We don't want to waste this year. I think from a skill perspective, it's an opportunity for us to break down his shot, really work on his free throws and start a little bit from ground zero."
When the Sixers drafted him, they did not expect him to miss his entire rookie season. The original timetable for his recovery was 6-8 months, which would have allowed him to return at midseason. Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery, told ESPN in June that Noel's recovery was ahead of schedule.
But the Sixers are taking a conservative approach as they overhaul the team for the future. An excellent defensive player and shot-blocker, the 6-foot-11 Noel is raw in terms of his offensive skills.