Thunder forward Chet Holmgren talks about returning to NBA Summer League
WATCH: Thunder forward Chet Holmgren talks about returning to NBA Summer League
Joe Musatto, Oklahoman
SALT LAKE CITY – Chet Holmgren walked into the press room with ice bags strapped to his knees. A table at the front of the room, with microphones mounted on it, had to be pulled from the wall to accommodate Holmgren’s 7-foot-1 frame.
As he settled into a comfortable chair, Holmgren asked some of us reporters how we were doing.
Well. and him?
“Happy,” said Holmgren.
And just as important, healthy.
Sure, Holmgren may have had some aches and pains after the Thunder’s 95-85 win against the Jazz on Monday in the Salt Lake City Summer League, but with the 29 minutes he was on the court, he was the first to appear in a competitive game. Was playing. year, Holmgren got dizzy.
Teammate Trey Mann said, “I can’t imagine what he was feeling.”
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Last August, Lisfranc suffered an injury to Holmgren’s right leg during a Pro-Am game in Seattle. He had a surgery to repair the injury, and then a second surgery to remove the screw from his leg. That injury and those surgeries took him out of last season.
But now, as Holmgren begins his rookie year (Take 2), his foot injury, which was named after a French surgeon, has taken a backseat.
“The leg feels great,” Holmgren said. “It’s like the injury never happened, obviously apart from everything I went through.
“But at this point, if you wipe my memory, I won’t know what happened to my leg.”
Only his scars would serve as a reminder.
In the first quarter on Monday night, Holmgren looked a bit slow, a bit loose, and had a short shot, but he played brilliantly over the next three quarters. He scored 15 points and hit four shots.
Thunder Summer League coach David Akinnuye said, “I thought he did a great job competing on both ends of the field.” “Just to see him back out there, I know he was excited, and the guys were excited to be with him, too.”
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The same skills were there – distinctive rim protection and offensive ingenuity – even as Holmgren worked to get himself back into playing shape.
“In terms of conditioning, there are a million hurdles you have to go through in the process of getting back in the game,” Holmgren said. “Having not played a game for a year, it is really difficult to check in and see where you are. And then coming to altitude, it adds another factor to it.
“It is definitely something I will have to continue working on, and I will be ready by the time training camp starts. I think I will prepare myself to stay fit in the season.
Holmgren said he was cleared to play five-on-five “last year around the end of the season”, but playing in a pick-up game is different from playing in a summer league game, which is different from playing in an NBA game.
“You can’t really simulate game situations,” Holmgren said. “You go out there with the crowd, and how everything works with the flow of referees, calls and timeouts and quarters… It’s very different.
“You have to be there to experience it.”
And in an encouraging move for Holmgren and the Thunder, he returned on Monday night.
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thunder vs grizzlies
tip off: Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City (NBA TV)