Baylor big man undergoes surgery to repair multiple knee ligaments


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Baylor big man Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair several ligaments in his left knee following a horrific injury that ended his season for the Bears, seventh and defending national champions.

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Tchamwa Tchatchoua, the junior striker known as ‘Everyday Jon’ for his consistent high-energy approach in games and training, picked up the injury without any contact in the first half of Baylor’s 80-63 victory over Texas No. 20 on Saturday. The 6-foot-8, 245-pound Cameroonian was coming down the court after a missed Bears shot when his left leg awkwardly twisted and he collapsed to the ground in obvious pain.

“Jon’s biggest strength every day is every day he’s got a smile and he’s upbeat, and that’s made us a lot more upbeat,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Knowing Jon, he’ll probably be in rehab tomorrow morning.”

Baylor forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua lies on the court with a leg injury apparent during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas on Saturday, February 12, 2022 in Waco, Texas .
(AP Photo/Ray Carlin)

Drew called the operation “extensive” and said it was too early to know the best scenario for Tchamwa Tchatchoua’s recovery and return.

In a tweet after being injured and before the operation, Tchamwa Tchatchoua wrote, “Baylor family, I appreciate all the love and prayers!! All my trust is in GOD so I know everything will be fine!”

The Bears (21-4) play 11th-ranked Texas Tech on Wednesday night.

Tchamwa Tchatchoua is one of only three players to have appeared in all 25 games so far for Baylor. He came off the bench averaging a team-leading 8.4 points and 6.8 rebounds (fifth in the Big 12) in about 21 minutes per game. He scored a career-high 21 points last week at Kansas State.

Flo Thamba, a 6-10 senior position, has started every game this season. The Bears used their big man combo the same way last season when they won their first national title.

After Tchamwa Tchatchoua was injured with just over eight minutes left in Texas, Thamba played a career-high 30 minutes. He made his first career double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) and four blocked shots.

“I will be more than fine. I will be good,” Thamba said on Tuesday of the long playing minutes. “I’m always going to be physical. It’s more the aspect of playing smarter. You have to avoid situations where you know you’re going to get a bad call. As far as my physicality and my intensity, that’s not going to change.

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Freshman forward Jeremy Sochan can play fifth. The Bears also have second 7-footer Zach Loveday, who has appeared in 10 games so far this season.

“It seems like everyone is going five guards anyway, but Jeremy has had reps there before and Zach has been playing there all year,” Drew said. “So those are your two initial reactions. And from there, whatever the game dictates.”


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