Ryan Goodwin has never met Kentucky center Nerlens Noel. He has never examined Noel's injured left knee.

But as a Cleveland Clinic doctor and director of the Center for Pediatric Orthopaedics and Scoliosis Surgery, Goodwin can say that the fact that Noel injured the growth plate in his left knee in high school should not necessarily be a cause for concern in and of itself, and it likely did not lead to the torn knee ligament he suffered last season as a college freshman.

Noel has been mentioned as a possible No. 1 pick by the Cavaliers in the NBA Draft on June 27, and he is scheduled to be in town Thursday to interview with the team. Although he was widely viewed as the likely No. 1 pick in most early mock drafts, lately there have been questions about the combined knee injuries.

It's unclear exactly where the Cavs have him ranked. They also have hosted UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett, Georgetown small forward Otto Porter Jr. and shooting guards Ben McLemore of Kansas, Victor Oladipo of Indiana and Jamaal Franklin of San Diego State on Wednesday, with Maryland center Alex Len to follow.

There certainly are concerns about the slender Noel, who is a defensive shot-blocking force with a limited offensive repertoire.

But, according to Goodwin, who has not seen any of the player's medical records, the growth-plate injury should not be one of them.

Speaking in general terms, not specifically about Noel, Goodwin said, "I can tell you that growth-plate injuries are, in fact, very common in children, and children can be big children all the way up through high school age. Certainly those who are very tall obviously get a lot of their height through their legs, which grow rapidly. Typically, I'd say most boys are done growing about age 16. Growth plate injuries can happen.

"Certainly around the knee they're common, and they can happen the same way an adult can tear a ligament. But instead, the growth plate, since it's made of cartilage, is going to fail mechanically before a ligament fails. So they're in fact relatively common injuries in kids.

"The good news is the vast majority of growth-plate injuries heal without consequence. Children heal and they go on to grow. Where it would be a problem is if someone sustained a growth-plate injury and for whatever reason, usually the injury itself, can cause the growth plate to not function properly once the injury heals. That's where you get into trouble.''