The Oklahoma City Thunder performed admirably in their season-opening game on Wednesday against the revitalised Minnesota Timberwolves, but they were defeated 115-108 after being knotted at the half. making the performance of the underdog Thunder even more motivating? Not only did they succeed without the season-ending Lisfranc injury to No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren’s right foot, which occurred in August, but they also did so without the participation of another rookie lottery pick who was expected to have a significant impact on Oklahoma City’s present and future.
Jalen Williams underwent successful surgery to treat an orbital bone fracture he sustained against Minnesota, The Thunder reported on Friday. In 7 to 10 days, he will be reevaluated.
Williams closed out to the corner and challenged a driving dunk attempt by Minnesota forward Jaden McDaniels with 4:29 remaining in the first half when the injury occurred. As McDaniels stood to finish, Williams took a forearm to the face, falling to the ground in agony as the referee whistled for a defensive foul. He left the game after less than six minutes had passed, leaving his NBA debut with five points, one assist, two turnovers, and 2-of-2 shooting.
Williams was picked with the No. 12 overall choice in the 2022 draught after a great junior season at mid-major Santa Clara. Williams was the biggest riser during this year’s pre-draft process. Given his wide offensive repertoire and general two-way elegance, the tall, silky 6’6″ wing further enhanced his reputation at Summer League and in exhibition play, emerging as a dark-horse candidate for Rookie of the Year.
Williams won’t be out of action for very long, according on recent injury precedent across the league, even though the Thunder haven’t provided a potential timetable for his return.
Just nine days after sustaining an orbital fracture, Joel Embiid, for example, was back for Game 3 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup against the Toronto Raptors. Embiid’s brief absence nevertheless inspires hope that Williams, 21, could return to the floor for the Thunder before Thanksgiving. Of course, Oklahoma City won’t rush Williams back to the floor for regular season games the way the Philadelphia 76ers did with their franchise player during a crucial playoff series.
When it comes to playing time, expect fellow rookie Ousmane Dieng, who was selected immediately after Williams in the late lottery, to benefit the most since Oklahoma City will be even more reliant on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey for playmaking offensively.
Jalen Williams has facial surgery after breaking it, according to ClutchPoints.