University of Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel will miss the rest of the 2012-13 season with a torn ACL in his left knee, the school announced Wednesday.

Noel suffered the injury during the second half of Tuesday night’s 69-52 loss at Florida.

Noel, who some have projected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, will undergo surgery in the next two to three weeks, UK said. The timetable for recovery is estimated at six to eight months.

“I’ve been coaching for 22 years and this is the first injury we’ve had of this kind during the season, which makes it even more devastating,” Coach John Calipari said in a statement released by UK. “I met with Nerlens earlier today. The meeting was really positive, and I loved his attitude. The way he is already dealing with this injury lets me know that he is going to come back stronger than ever. The good news is he is insured, so he would have been fine even if the injury would have been worse. Obviously this is not a career-ending injury and it’s one that athletes bounce back from all the time.”

Kentucky (17-7) has seven more regular-season games remaining.

The 6-10 freshman was leading the nation in blocks (106) and blocks per game (4.4) and ranked second in the Southeastern Conference in rebounding (9.5). He was also averaging 10.5 points per game for the Wildcats.

– Reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader