(CTN News) – When Chet Holmgren returned to Oklahoma City Thunder action Monday night, he didn’t look like anyone who had been away for nearly a year.
Holmgren had not played in the NBA Summer League in 355 days after suffering a Lisfranc injury at the Crawsover Pro-Am in Seattle last August. Oklahoma City’s second pick in the 2022 NBA draft looked mostly comfortable during its 95-85 win over the Utah Jazz at Vivint Arena.
His 15 points came on 6 of 14 field goals and 3 of 6 free throws, and he just missed out on a double-double by pulling down nine rebounds, four blocks, four fouls, three turnovers, and two assists.
My teammates kept telling me to let the game come to me, and I feel like I did that,” Chet Holmgren told NBATV’s Holly Rowe afterward. Having let the game come to me, things started to open up and we opened up a lead as a team.”
It appears that Chet Holmgren will be able to return to the Thunder for the Summer League games in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas later this week. He has been sidelined for more than 11 months due to a foot injury.
In his 2023 Summer League debut, Holmgren logged 29 minutes, finishing with a plus-13 plus-minus, the Thunder’s second-best.
The feeling must be great for him, Rowe said during the broadcast. The Lisfranc fracture is a tricky one, and for him to come back and move like he did today, I’m happy for him.”
The first shot Holmgren took fell at the 9-minute, 31-second mark of the second quarter, as he grabbed his own rebound before going back up and knocking down a putback over 6-foot-10 Luke Samanic.
The former Zag star’s much-anticipated return included a little bit of everything. Later in the game, he swatted the Utah player’s layup with both hands after meeting former Baylor guard Keyonte George at the rim.
After the game, Holmgren invited OKC teammates to join him for a postgame television interview, wrapping his arms around Tre Mann and Jaylin Williams while Jalen Williams stood to the side.
After a long hiatus, Chet Holmgren was asked about returning to the court by all three teammates.
“It’s a blessing,” said Jalen Williams.
“Really good,” Mann said. Especially when someone gets past down there at the rim.
According to Jaylin Williams, it was great. I enjoyed sharing the court with him.”
Oklahoma City’s first Summer League stint in Salt Lake continues Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
During a postgame press conference, Chet Holmgren told reporters it was great just to play again. The last 11 months have really been a competition with myself to stay in it. It’s like a reward for following everything exactly.
It’s great to be back out there and make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. You can compete with the dudes, have fun, smile, and go hard. That’s what I’m after.”
An Eastern Washington graduate and Shadle Park grad, Tanner Groves, did not play for Oklahoma City.
Former Gonzaga teammates Filip Petrusev and the Philadelphia 76ers faced Joel Ayayi and the Grizzlies earlier in the Salt Lake Summer League.
After winning the Serbian league championship with Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet Belgrade, Petrusev recorded nine points, six rebounds, two assists, and seven fouls in a 94-92 loss. In 22 minutes, Petrusev played.
Ayayi was added to Memphis’ Chet Holmgren Summer League roster last week and totaled two points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block.
Former Chet Holmgren Washington State guard Justin Powell did not play in the Miami Heat’s opener at the California Classic, while ex-Eastern Washington standout Angelo Allegri earned a “DNP” for the Charlotte Hornets.