Thunder No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren to miss season with foot injury
Oklahom City – Oklahoma City forward Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft, will miss the 2022-23 season because of a right foot injury.
Holmgren was hurt while playing in a pro-am game last weekend in Seattle, near where he starred last season for Gonzaga, and the Thunder announced Thursday that he sustained a Lisfranc injury. Video appeared to show Holmgren was hurt on a play while defending LeBron James.
“We know Chet has a long career ahead of him within our organization and the Oklahoma City community,” Thunder executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti said in a statement. “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.”
The 7-foot Holmgren, who is from Minneapolis, averaged 14.1 points and was fourth in the nation last season with 3.7 blocked shots per game.
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.
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.
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.