The NBA world woke up to the shocking news this past Thursday morning that No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren was going to miss the entire 2022-23 season due to a Lisfranc injury.
Holmgren suffered the injury during the Seattle Pro-Am game he attended the previous weekend.
The news demoralized the Oklahoma City Thunder as the team and fanbase were excited to see their top draft pick play. The selection of Holmgren gave the fans a jolt of energy and excitement.
But a Lisfranc injury manifested the worst of the worst-case scenarios when Holmgren got hurt. Which begs the question, what is a Lisfranc injury?
As it’s been said multiple times by now, a Lisfranc injury is extremely rare for basketball players and much more common in football. Let’s take a quick look at what exactly this injury is and what it means for Holmgren’s short-term and long-term future.
(Editor’s Note: None of this should be taken as serious medical advice or knowledge. This is just surface-level information on the injury)
What is it?
A Lisfranc injury occurs when at least one of the eight metatarsal bones — the longest bones on the toes that connects it to the base of the foot — are displaced from the foot.
In Holmgren’s case, Thunder general manager Sam Presti said that it was a rupture of the tendon instead of fractured bones. Which is arguably more scary as torn ligaments can cause more long-term damage than broken bones.
The injury was named after French surgeon Jacques Lisfranc de St. Martin, who noticed the injury among calvary men following the War of the Sixth Coalition in 1815.
How did Chet suffer the injury?
While it’s been a popular belief that the unsafe and slippery court conditions at the Pro-Am played a role in Holmgren’s injury, Presti revealed that three of the top five foot specialists all agree that it was just a random injury that could’ve happened to anyone anywhere.
“This is an acute injury. It’s something where it’s the result of him basically being pressed down, getting ready to jump at the exact time that he was getting force on his foot,” said Presti. “A millisecond earlier where he’s up in the air already or a millisecond later where his foot is flat, then you’re not dealing with something like this.”
After contesting a LeBron James drive, Holmgren came up gimpy. The injury likely occurred on the landing.
Recovery time for Holmgren has varied since the news broke. ESPN injury analyst Stephania Bell said she believes Holmgren will be out for 4-to-6 months but thinks he should not have any lingering issues.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 25, 2022
Either way, Holmgren being ruled for the entire 2022-23 season means that he will have over a year to fully return in time for the 2023-24 season, which it sounded like Presti believes will happen if all goes right.
Any long-term damage?
Only time will tell.
There have been a wide scope of medical opinions on how much this injury will affect Holmgren for the rest of his career. Presti himself believes that they’ll be no lingering issues. The foot specialists the team consulted with believe the same thing as well.
The truth is, nobody will really know until we see how Holmgren responds to rehab and until we see him play out the entirety of his NBA career. The lack of reference points the Thunder could use with other NBA players who’ve previously suffered this injury also doesn’t help.
As of right now, there seems to not be any concern that Holmgren will have chronic foot problems because of this. But that’s only the case until it starts to happen.
Other NBA players who've dealt with this injury
As stated a million times by now, a Lisfranc injury is much more common in football than basketball. Which means that the list of reference points is pretty short for Holmgren.
With that said, here are five NBA players who’ve suffered a Lisfranc injury:
Udonis Haslem suffered it in Nov. 2010 and returned in May 2011.
Furkan Korkmaz suffered it in Dec. 2017 and returned in March 2018.
Caleb Martin suffered a sprain in 2018 at UNLV but played through it.
Gerald Green suffered it in Oct. 2019 and never returned to the league.