Unfortunately, for Oklahoma City Thunder, and possible basketball fans as a whole, the wait to see the triumvirate of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Josh Giddey and Chet Holmgren share the court in an NBA game will have to wait one more year.
Holmgren, the no.2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, will miss the entire 2022-23 season with a lisfranc injury. Holmgren seems to have suffered the injury guarding Lebron at The Crawsover Pro-Am game last Saturday night. While not a career-ending injury anymore, and even with the youth Chet has on his side, he has a mountain to overcome ,to not only come back, but place himself back on the career trajectory many in basketball hopefully have prognosticated for him.
The concern of injury is ever present anytime an NBA player steps on a court that is not for their teams, the gruesome spectre of Paul George undoubtedly looms heavily as a worse case scenario for players and teams. If you have been following FIBA, ( if you have we hope it is our coverage, hopefully ) we have seen a variety of injuries, most of them falling on the less severe end of the spectrum. Even Giannis Antetokonmpo has fallen victim to this, missing all but two of Greece’s friendly, pre-competition match up with back and knee soreness, the former necesitating an MRI.
The George incident aside, injuries, much less serious ones, are fairly rare in these pro-am games. Normally the NBA players are out there to provide a decent showing for fans while making it out healthy. In that respect, Chet Holmgren’s injury is truly an outlier, however it could have far reaching implications for players around the Association. The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is set to expire June 30, 2024, (it can end June 30, 2023 if players and the league both agree to opt out) and there will likely be changes in the nature of contracts for the next CBA. Holmgren’s contract allowed for his participation and the the Crawsover was on the approved list from the NBA. Even with that being the case it stands to reason that the League could to use the Holmgren injury as a case study in a potential attempt to constrict the basketball activities of players in the offseason in a reverse “For the Love of the Game” clause. For the unaware this was a clause that Micheal Jordan had added to his contract that allowed him to play basketball anytime, anywhere against anyone , regardless of injury risk.
While we wish Chet Holmgren a speedy recovery, it is quite possible the NBA could be a vastly different league when he makes his official debut.