Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, will miss the entire 2022-23 season after sustaining a Lisfranc injury to his right foot, the team announced Thursday.
Holmgren will undergo surgery in the “coming weeks,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in an impromptu news conference Thursday. Holmgren is expected to be healthy at the start of the 2023-24 season.
Holmgren injured his foot last Saturday at a pro-am event in Seattle hosted by former NBA guard Jamal Crawford. The injury happened when Holmgren, while defending LeBron James on a fast break, planted his right foot before jumping up to challenge James’ shot.
Presti described the injury as a “tendon rupture” and “not a fracture”. Presti said it was a “wrong place, wrong time” injury and the long-term prognosis was “very positive”.
NEVER MISS A MOMENT:Subscribe now to our Sports newsletter!
A Lisfranc joint injury, like the one Holmgren suffered, occurs when there is damage to the bones or ligaments in the midsection of the foot, according to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Holmgren’s thin frame and how he will hold up in the NBA was a much-discussed topic in the pre-draft process. Holmgren is listed at 7 feet and 195 pounds.
Presti was asked if Holmgren’s lanky frame made him more vulnerable to an injury like this.
“I understand there’s a lot of top-level thinking going on,” Presti said. “We can’t really control that. It’s the fruit of the alternate reality that is the internet. But that’s not where the reality lies. There are opinions and there are facts, and we deal with the facts.”
There were also questions regarding the frame of Holmgren’s injury. The CrawsOver pro-am event, which featured several NBA players, took place in a cramped gym at Seattle Pacific University.
The match was called off in the second quarter due to condensation on the pitch, which created dangerous playing conditions.
As for Holmgren’s injury, “I don’t think condensation on the floor was a factor,” Presti said. “Obviously it happened quite early on, and I don’t think this problem arose later.”
While playing in a pro-am event seems like a bad decision in hindsight, the CrawsOver was on the NBA’s list of sanctioned events, ESPN’s Bobby Marks reported.
“Players are going to play in these,” Presti said, “because the NBA says they’re okay to play.
“The other thing is that guys are playing everywhere all the time everywhere. If you have players who like to play, they’re going to play basketball. Every time you walk into a basketball court, something like this can happen. It could happen in a match. It could happen in training. It could happen in a scrum.”
Holmgren’s injury no doubt zapped some of the excitement for the upcoming season, but Presti remained optimistic about the future.
“There are going to be tough times now, don’t get me wrong, but he’s got what it takes and he’ll be ready when he’s ready to come back,” Presti said. “I think he will be a force.”