Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Center Chet Holmgren will likely miss the entire 2022-23 NBA season with a Lisfranc injury in his right foot. Holmgren was selected with the second overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft out of Gonzaga University.
Holmgren injured his right foot while defending LeBron James in a CrawsOver Pro-Am game on Saturday. The game was called off shortly due to the conditions of the court. This is a massive blow to the Thunder who were hoping to change the team trajectory as the team was in the bottom five in most NBA team stats.
Future Outlook on Holmgren’s Career
Although the injury sounds bad, with Holmgren missing the entire season, the injury shouldn’t be a major setback in his career. A Lisfranc injury is when the bone in the middle of the foot is broken or ligaments are torn. The injury is often looked at as requiring surgery, and he should be back and at 100% before the beginning of next season.
A player to look at that faced a similar injury is Udonis Haslem back in 2010. Haslam had a Lisfranc tear in November of 2010 and was even able to come back in May after participating in the Miami Heat championship run.
Holmgren Joins a Long List of Top Picks Missing First Year
This is not an uncommon situation for one of the top picks in the NBA draft to miss their first season in the NBA due to injury. The likes of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Blake Griffin, Greg Oden, and many other stars did not play their first year due to injury.
The Thunder will certainly be hoping that his career trajectory will end up becoming much more similar to Embiid’s than a player like Oden. Players like Simmons and Griffin even won the rookie of the year award the following season.
Oklahoma City Thunders General Manager Sam Presti seemed to have a positive outlook on the situation in his statement, saying,
“Certainly, we are disappointed for Chet, especially given the excitement he had about getting on the floor with his teammates this season. 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 was a Summer League Star
Though it was only a short sample size, Holmgren looked to be a star in the making, as he averaged 14 points and 8.4 rebounds in the Las Vegas Summer League. Holmgren impressed many fans and experts as he was showcasing his ability to play physically down in the post while also being able to shoot threes.
During his time in the summer league, Holmgren put up a 23-point game and also broke the record for most points in a Summer League game, blocking six shots in one of the matchups. There is no doubting Holmgren’s potential, but hopefully, injuries like this are not a pattern in his NBA career.
What Does OKC Do Now?
This is terrible for the Oklahoma City Thunder, as homegrown was certainly penciled in to have a ton of minutes this season. However, the Thunder have Jeremiah Robinson–Earl as their backup center, or they can explore using Alex Pokusevski as the big man for this season. The likes of Mike Muscala, Darius Bazley, and Derrick Favors will also likely receive more minutes.
The Thunder are still not looked at as a playoff team, and this season can now be used as possibly the last season before they begin to really compete for a playoff spot. The Thunder likely has a backcourt to build around with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey at the guard positions and could benefit from experimenting with the rest of the squad to see who are going to be players to build around once Holmgren comes back.