Thunder No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren to miss entire season due to foot injury
As was feared, Chet Holmgren, the highly-touted No.2 pick of the Thunder out of Gonzaga, is lost for the season due to a foot injury suffered in a recent pro-am game, the team announced Thursday.
Holmgren suffered an injury to ligaments around the Lisfranc joint, a band of tissue that helps connect the long bones that form the toes (metatarsal bones) to the bones of the foot in the arch area. Jeff Stotts of InStreetClothes.com described the area as the “lynchpin” of the foot, an area that is weight-bearing and helps stabilize the foot.
“Certainly, we are disappointed for Chet, especially given the excitement he had about getting on the floor with his teammates this season,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement. “We know Chet has a long career ahead of him within our organization and the Oklahoma City community. One of the things that most impressed us during the process of selecting Chet was his determination and focus. We expect that same tenacity will carry him through this period of time as we work together and support him during his rehabilitation.”
Holmgren will undergo surgery a “rupture of the tendon” in the next few weeks, Presti said later in a press conference. He added there was no fracture to the bone.
Holmgren joins Blake Griffin, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid on the list of big men who missed their first NBA season due to an injury (it’s not technically his rookie season, Holmgren will be eligible for Rookie of the Year the first season he does play, as Griffin was).
It’s a disappointment after Holmgren had a strong showing at Summer League, where he showed off his shooting touch, handles, and defense around the rim. He also found a natural chemistry with Josh Giddey, giving Thunder fans real hope for the future — and an entertaining team to watch this season. Now that is put on pause.
The injury appeared to happen during the “Crawsover” pro-am last weekend in Seattle on what was an innocent-looking play. Holmgren was backpedaling, working to defend LeBron James one-on-one in transition, there was minimal contact and their feet did not get tangled, but after the play Holmgren came up limping. It was just a freak injury.
It’s an injury that could see fewer NBA players heading to pro-ams the rest of the season, not necessarily by their own choice. It casts a pall over the growing number of NBA players who have participated in pro-ams this season (something Dejounte Murray said there should be more of). While a player could just as easily get injured working out at a team facility, teams feel they have a sense of control at those runs as opposed to the wild, crowded gyms of pro-ams.
This was still just a fluke injury, but one that sidelines one of the more interesting storylines of the season.