Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua: A medical marvel key to Baylor’s hopes
College Basketball Analyst & Writer
DENVER — Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua should not have been at Baylor’s follow Saturday, standing there in warmups off to the facet and on the point of play Sunday within the second spherical towards Creighton.
He ought to have been going via his rehab, mentoring the youthful bigs, providing his recommendation.
No one thought it was potential that he could be about to play in his twelfth sport this season, giving the Bears one other probability to be again within the Sweet 16.
But right here he’s, a medical marvel.
“It was supposed to be a two-year rehab, he did it in less than one,” mentioned Baylor coach Scott Drew.
“If he had just had the orthopedic alone it was going to be 12-15 months, but he also had the nerve damage and that changed everything,” mentioned Dave Snyder, Baylor’s head athletic coach and assistant athletic director for athletic drugs.
Tchamwa Tchatchoua is likely to be probably the most superb medical story of this NCAA Tournament.
His season-ending damage occurred towards Texas on Feb. 12, 2022. He had a four-plus hour surgical procedure to organize a number of ligaments in his left knee on Feb. 13. But he needed to wait till July 1 to restore nerve harm.
Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua injured his knee towards Texas on Feb. 12, 2022. He was purported to be out for 2 years. (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Images)
The nerve harm means he has a drop foot, which based on the Mayo Clinic, is a basic time period for issue lifting the entrance a part of the foot. If you’ve got this situation, the entrance of your foot may drag on the bottom once you stroll. He wears a brace that runs from the knee right down to the foot to enhance his gate.
Tchamwa Tchatchoua, whose nickname is “Everyday Jon,” mentioned that if he does not put on the brace, the foot drops. He can stroll, however he is not the identical. The brace helps him run, soar and be one thing nearer to what he was previous to the damage.
Everyday Jon, who’s initially from Cameroon and performed on the NBA Global Academy in Australia earlier than a one-season stint at UNLV, helped Baylor win the nationwide championship in 2021. He’s one in all 4 gamers from that staff nonetheless on the roster.
And he is arguably probably the most impactful off the ground. His voice carries. He has a presence.
“He’s loud, he’s verbal and he works so hard,” mentioned Drew.
But he must be held again. Everyday Jon wasn’t practising Saturday — the plan is to restrict him in follow as a result of he goes all out in video games. He scored 4 factors in 17 minutes within the first-round win over UCSB. He scored 11 twice throughout his comeback towards West Virginia and at Kansas State.
“I’m working on the range of motion, but sometimes when you wake up in the morning, the leg doesn’t work the way you want it to,” mentioned Tchamwa Tchatchoua. “I’ve got great people around me and I play for my girlfriend, my family. They made the journey easier. They inspire me.”
Tchamwa Tchatchoua mentioned the psychological side has been the hardest journey.
Snyder agreed: “The mental aspect is hard, and one of the last things to come back in confidence. There’s no real cookie-cutter way to do this. Everybody responds differently. You can’t force-feed that.”
Snyder mentioned the nerves by no means have a straight timeline for therapeutic. They heal very, very slowly.
“The fact that he beat two years is incredible,” mentioned Snyder. “We never expected it or planned for it.”
Tchamwa Tchatchoua will come off the bench and be an element for the Bears of their inside protection. They will want him towards Creighton heart Ryan Kalkbrenner, who scored 31 factors within the Bluejays’ opening-round victory over NC State.
But in relation to Baylor’s probabilities of progressing on this event, his voice is simply as important as his play on the court docket.
Andy Katz is a longtime faculty basketball author, analyst and host. He may be seen on the Big Ten Network, in addition to March Madness and NCAA.com, and he hosts the podcast “March Madness 365.” Katz labored at ESPN for almost 20 years and, previous to that, in newspapers for 9 years.
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