After the news that No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren will miss his entire rookie season, Thunder general manager Sam Presti told reporters that the next step is surgery “in the coming weeks.”
Holmgren suffered the right foot injury in a Seattle pro-am game staged by former NBA guard Jamal Crawford. The former Gonzaga big man was defending LeBron James on a fast-break layup when the injury occurred.
Presti said Holmgren suffered a rupture of the tendon in his foot and “not a fracture.” He also shot down talk of Holmgren’s slight frame playing a role in the injury.
“I understand there’s a lot of first-level thinking going on out there,” Presti said, via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “We can’t really control that. It’s a figment of the alternate reality that is the internet. But that’s not where reality resides. There are opinions and there are facts, and we are dealing with the facts.”
Some have questioned Holmgren and other NBA players participating in pro-am events — though Presti indicated he has no issue with it. The game in which Holmgren suffered the injury, held at Seattle pacific University, was called in the second quarter because of condensation on the court.
“Players are going to play in these (pro-ams),” Presti told reporters, “because the NBA is saying that they are okay to play in. The other thing is, guys are playing all over the place all the time everywhere.
“If you have players that love to play, they are going to play basketball. Every time you step on a basketball court, something like this could happen. It could happen in a game. It could happen in a practice. It could happen in a scrimmage.”
Holmgren, 19, is 7-foot-0 and spent one season at Gonzaga, averaging 14.1 points and 9.9 rebounds in 32 games.
“Certainly, we are disappointed for Chet, especially given the excitement he had about getting on the floor with his teammates this season,” Presti said in a team statement.
“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.”