Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua: A medical marvel key to Baylor’s hopes
School Basketball Analyst & Author
DENVER — Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua should not have been at Baylor’s observe Saturday, standing there in warmups off to the aspect and on the brink of play Sunday within the second spherical in opposition to Creighton.
He ought to have been going by way of his rehab, mentoring the youthful bigs, providing his recommendation.
Nobody thought it was potential that he could be about to play in his twelfth recreation this season, giving the Bears one other likelihood to be again within the Candy 16.
However right here he’s, a medical marvel.
“It was supposed to be a two-year rehab, he did it in less than one,” stated 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,” stated Dave Snyder, Baylor’s head athletic coach and assistant athletic director for athletic drugs.
Tchamwa Tchatchoua is likely to be essentially the most superb medical story of this NCAA Event.
His season-ending damage occurred in opposition to Texas on Feb. 12, 2022. He had a four-plus hour surgical procedure to arrange a number of ligaments in his left knee on Feb. 13. However he needed to wait till July 1 to restore nerve injury.
Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua injured his knee in opposition to Texas on Feb. 12, 2022. He was alleged to be out for 2 years. (Picture by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire through Getty Pictures)
The nerve injury means he has a drop foot, which in keeping with the Mayo Clinic, is a basic time period for problem lifting the entrance a part of the foot. If in case you have this situation, the entrance of your foot would possibly drag on the bottom if 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,” stated that if he does not put on the brace, the foot drops. He can stroll, however he isn’t the identical. The brace helps him run, leap and be one thing nearer to what he was previous to the damage.
On a regular basis Jon, who’s initially from Cameroon and performed on the NBA International Academy in Australia earlier than a one-season stint at UNLV, helped Baylor win the nationwide championship in 2021. He is one in every of 4 gamers from that staff nonetheless on the roster.
And he is arguably essentially the most impactful off the ground. His voice carries. He has a presence.
“He’s loud, he’s verbal and he works so hard,” stated Drew.
However he needs to be held again. On a regular basis Jon wasn’t training Saturday — the plan is to restrict him in observe 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 in opposition to 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,” stated 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 stated 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 stated 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,” stated 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 may want him in opposition to Creighton heart Ryan Kalkbrenner, who scored 31 factors within the Bluejays’ opening-round victory over NC State.
However in the case of Baylor’s possibilities of progressing on this match, his voice is simply as vital as his play on the court docket.
Andy Katz is a longtime faculty basketball author, analyst and host. He might be seen on the Huge Ten Community, in addition to March Insanity and NCAA.com, and he hosts the podcast “March Madness 365.” Katz labored at ESPN for practically twenty years and, previous to that, in newspapers for 9 years.
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