Thunder’s Noel OK’d to return after passing through concussion protocol

Nerlens Noel of the Thunder is attended to after falling and hitting his head on the floor during a game against Minnesota on Jan. 8.

Oklahoma City center Nerlens Noel passed through the NBA concussion protocol and was available for the Thunder’s game against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.

A team spokesman made the announcement earlier Thursday.

Noel was injured during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Jan. 8 when he collided with Andrew Wiggins of the Timberwolves and his head hit the floor.

The Thunder said Noel lost consciousness after hitting the floor. Noel laid prone on the floor for several minutes before being removed by a stretcher. He was hospitalized overnight at University of Oklahoma Hospital and underwent tests and observation before being released the following day.

Noel is averaging 5.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots in 13.7 minutes per game off the bench for Oklahoma City this season.

During his three-game absence, the Thunder went 1-2.