Oklahoma City Thunder star rookie Chet Holmgren will be out for the 2022-23 season after the team announced he suffered a Lisfranc injury to his right foot. The Thunder said on Aug. 30 that surgery on the injury took place at Forte Sports Medicine and Orthopedics in Carmel, Ind. and was successful.
Thunder GM Sam Presti said in a statement: “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.”
Thunder injury update. Statement from GM Sam Presti.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) August 25, 2022
Holmgren joins a list of high draft picks who lost their rookie years to injuries, including Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Blake Griffin. https://t.co/EYNVgA1bYk
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 25, 2022
Thunder say Chet Holmgren will miss the entire 2022-23 NBA season due to his right foot injury.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 25, 2022
Holmgren was hurt while playing in a pro-am game last weekend in Seattle at The CrawsOver, near where he starred last season for Gonzaga. Video appeared to show Holmgren was hurt on a play while defending LeBron James.
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.
Here's the play where Chet Holmgren got hurt tonight. He was guarding @KingJames one-on-one. It's hard to tell how he got hurt. He might have just stepped weirdly. @ChetHolmgren @thecrawsover #thunder pic.twitter.com/AzUBYUgnyV
— Nathan Thompson (@NathanDThompson) August 21, 2022
Ben Simmons went No. 1 overall in 2016 and missed the following season with a foot injury. Blake Griffin was the top pick in 2009 but had to sit while recovering from a knee injury, as was the case with No. 1 selection Greg Oden in 2007.
The Thunder chose Holmgren, a former standout at Gonzaga, with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft. A versatile 7-footer who was a second-team Associated Press All-American in his only college season, Holmgren averaged 14.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game and ranked fourth nationally with 3.7 blocks per game for the Zags.
He played in both the Utah and Las Vegas Summer Leagues and made a big impression in Salt Lake City, averaging 17.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.5 apg and 4.0 bpg while also shooting 50% overall and 41.7% on 3-pointers. He is one of several key pieces for the Thunder, who are led by guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (24.5 ppg in 2021-22) and Josh Giddey (the No. 6 overall pick in 2021 who made the All-Rookie second team).
Reigning NBA scoring champion Joel Embiid was the No. 3 pick in 2014 and missed his first two seasons with foot issues. Nerlens Noel was the No. 6 selection in 2013 and missed what would have been his first season with a knee problem, and Michael Porter Jr. was the 14th pick in the 2018 draft and missed the ensuing season with a back injury.
It even happened previously to the Thunder franchise: Nick Collison was the No. 12 pick in the 2003 draft by Seattle, unable to play that following season with shoulder issues. Collison went on to spend his entire career with the Thunder, getting his No. 4 jersey retired — the first such honor bestowed by the team in the Oklahoma City era — and remains part of the team’s front office.
There have been other instances of lottery picks missing what could have been their rookie years, including Jonas Valanciunas — the No. 5 selection in 2011 — not being able to join the Toronto Raptors until a year later because of his contract status with his European team at the time. Dario Saric and Ricky Rubio were lottery picks who played with their overseas clubs for two more years before coming to the NBA.
And some lottery selections never get to the league at all: Orlando chose Fran Vazquez at No. 11 in 2005, but the Spanish big man never appeared in an NBA game.
The Thunder’s core includes Gilgeous-Alexander, Giddey, Lu Dort, Darius Bazley and Tre Mann. Dort is one of the league’s best defensive players when healthy. Bazley is an athletic wing player and Mann was an explosive scorer off the bench. Gilgeous-Alexander, the oldest player in that group, is just short of his 24th birthday.
The Thunder were hoping Holmgren could help them eventually can help them regain some of the glory from the Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook era. The Thunder went to the Western Conference finals four times with that duo and the NBA Finals once. The Thunder have not won a playoff series since Durant left and have missed the playoffs the past two seasons. They went 24-58 last season.
Aside from picking Holmgren, the Thunder also took Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams at No. 12 and Arkansas’ Jaylin Williams with the 34th overall pick in the Draft. They also picked UCLA’s Peyton Watson at No. 30 overall, though he went to the Denver Nuggets. The Thunder acquired JaMychal Green and a 2027 protected first-round pick from the Nuggets for the rights to Watson and two future second-round picks. Green later was waived by OKC and signed with the defending-champion Golden State Warriors in the offseason.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.