Less than one year after suffering a serious knee injury, Baylor’s Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua returned to the basketball court Saturday, playing his first minutes of the season.
With 13:06 left in the first half against Texas Tech, Tchamwa Tchatchoua went to the scorer’s table and checked into the game, earning a standing ovation from the Ferrell Center crowd.
He helped kick Baylor to an 89-62 win over the Red Raiders, playing 14 minutes and finishing with eight points and four rebounds — making both of his 3-point attempts in the process.
“It was just surreal. I remember praying in my bedroom last night, just crying about all the trials that I’ve been going through and realizing the day is actually here. I’m actually playing,” Tchamwa Tchatchoua said. “I feel like it was a miracle for me to even be out here.”
Tchamwa Tchatchoua went down with a season-ending left knee injury against Texas on Feb. 12, 2022, suffering multiple torn ligaments and nerve damage. He underwent two surgeries, first to repair the knee and then to address the nerve damage, and was not given a definitive timetable to return.
Tchamwa Tchatchoua returned to practice earlier this season and began taking part in pregame warmups in late January.
“A special day. I want to thank God for just allowing Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua to heal. It’s a miracle,” Bears coach Scott Drew said. “When the injury happened and hearing the prognosis as things came in, as a coach and someone that loves Jon and works with him, you didn’t know if he would ever walk, run, let alone play basketball.”
In a video released before the season, Tchamwa Tchatchoua described the arduous process of recovering from his injuries in an attempt to return to the court.
“It’s crazy because even to this day, I still go back to like, that same spot on the court where I got hurt and just sit down here,” he said. “And just think like, what if I didn’t step this way? What if I didn’t step that far? So it’s just crazy to see like, how a couple millimeters or centimeters just can change your life.”
“If anyone can come back from an injury like this, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua is that guy,” Drew said in the video.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.