Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren will miss the 2022-23 season due to a Lisfranc injury to his right foot, the team revealed Thursday.
Holmgren, the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft, suffered the injury early in the CrawsOver Pro-Am event while defending LeBron James on a fast break.
“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.”
Presti told reporters later Thursday during an availability session that Holmgren will have foot surgery after the Thunder consulted with three of the nation’s top foot specialists. Presti confirmed that Holmgren suffered a ruptured tendon in his foot and not a fracture, noting that the Thunder were optimistic regarding his long-term recovery but that they would be “extremely conservative.”
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“Something positive will come from this,” said Presti, who said that Holmgren already has resumed weight training and shooting exercises without applying pressure to his foot.
Holmgren’s size was a frequent topic of debate throughout his lone season at Gonzaga and during the weeks leading into the draft, as critics questioned whether his 7-foot-1, 195-pound frame would withstand the physical rigors of NBA basketball. Presti emphasized, however, that the “contact injury” was unrelated to Holmgren’s size.
“He’s going to get better just by getting stronger, just by seeing things differently, just by learning the NBA,” Presti said. “All that’s going to be happening. He’s going to be able to shoot. He’s going to be able to do a lot of things with the ball.”
Holmgren was one of a number of NBA players to participate in the pro-am, along with James, Jayson Tatum, No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero, Dejounte Murray and Aaron Gordon.
The game was canceled in the second quarter because of the condition of the court. The unusually humid day in Seattle combined with a full crowd caused repeated wet spots and condensation. Presti said he did not consider the condensation to be a factor in Holmgren’s injury.
Holmgren averaged 14.0 points and 8.4 rebounds in five matches earlier this year at the Las Vegas summer league. Presti said Thursday that Holmgren was “having a monster summer” and that he will “be a force” when he returns to the Thunder.
A high draft pick having to sit out his first NBA season isn’t unprecedented, and in some cases, it hasn’t stopped players from reaching All-Star or even MVP-caliber levels.
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