Chet Holmgren’s unfortunate injury took place at an NBA sanctioned event.
One of the best parts of the NBA offseason is seeing some of the clips that come out of Pro-Am tournaments which NBA players participate in. We get to see players participate in intimate, small-gym environments where they often team up with players other than the ones they play alongside in the regular season.
The upside of these events for NBA players, aside from the fact that it’s good fun, is that it’s a low-stakes simulation of real games which helps get players back into game shape. It’s also an incubator for testing new moves before bringing them to the regular season.
The downside is that these events can put players at risk of injury before the season has even started. That unfortunate reality came true for the OKC Thunder and rookie Chet Holmgren this week, who suffered ligament damage in his foot which will keep him out of the 2022-23 NBA season, a redshirt rookie year if you will.
Holmgren appeared to injure his foot guarding LeBron James on a fast break, who was making his debut at the CrawsOver event hosted by former NBA player Jamal Crawford in Seattle.
Court issues may have contributed to Chet Holmgren injury, event was approved by NBA
The Pro-Am event had to end early due to slippery court issues. Unfortunately, Holmgren’s injury took place before the event was called.
According to Crawford, the gym was a “hot box” because of a fire alarm that was pulled that subsequently led to the decision to close the gym doors, keeping the heat and humidity in, ostensibly causing condensation on the floor.
The Athletic reported that the floor was not believed to be the issue (subscription required) for Holmgren’s injury, but it’s tough not to connect the dots here. The clip of the incident where the injury occurred doesn’t involve any noticeable slipping for Holmgren, but it’s certainly plausible that a slippery court could have impacted a clean takeoff or stable landing in some way.
The good news, for Holmgren, is that the event he got injured in was NBA sanctioned, which according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, means he won’t face long-term earnings concerns should the injury derail his career:
As the above article from Law Murray of The Athletic details, these events are viewed by teams as private workout choices for players. A “love of the game clause” is in most contracts that approves the participation in events like these.
It’ll be interesting to see if there is any change in perception or treatment of these events and whether or not teams and the league will continue to co-sign them, but the early indications from players around the league is that Pro-Am participation in the summer is an overall net-positive.