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Thunder's Chet Holmgren, No. 2 NBA Draft pick, sustains season-ending injury

The Oklahoma City Thunder selected former Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren at No. 2 overall in the 2022 NBA Draft. Photo courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics
The Oklahoma City Thunder selected former Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren at No. 2 overall in the 2022 NBA Draft. Photo courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics

Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Oklahoma City Thunder forward/center Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, sustained a foot injury and will miss his entire rookie season, the team announced Thursday.

"Certainly, we are disappointed for Chet, especially given the excitement he had about getting on the floor with his teammates this season," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a news release. "We know Chet has a long career ahead of him within our organization and the Oklahoma City community.

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"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."

Holmgren sustained the Lisfranc injury in his right foot during a Pro-Am game Saturday in Seattle. Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James was involved in the sequence.

Holmgren then jumped in front of James to defend the four-time NBA MVP as he went toward the rim.

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James picked up the ball and used his body to move Holmgren out of the way. Holmgren came away from the collision with the injured foot. He limped back to the bench after the play.

The Thunder selected Holmgren out of Gonzaga at No. 2 overall on June 23. The Orlando Magic selected former Duke forward Paolo Banchero at No. 1 overall.

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Holmgren averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.7 blocks and 1.9 assists per game last season for the Bulldogs. The 7-foot center was a consensus All-American and the West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

"Something positive will come from this as long as we take it in and understand that," Presti said of Holmgren's injury. "We have to have humility and we have to have gratitude as we deal with the setback."

The Thunder will face the Denver Nuggets in a preseason game Oct. 3 in Denver. They will face the Minnesota Timberwolves in their season opener Oct. 19 in Minneapolis.

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