College Hoops

Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua: A medical marvel key to Baylor’s hopes

Andy Katz

DENVER — Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua shouldn’t have been at Baylor’s practice Saturday, standing there in warmups off to the side and getting ready to play Sunday in the second round against Creighton.

He should have been going through his rehab, mentoring the younger bigs, offering his advice.

No one thought it was possible that he would be about to play in his 12th game this season, giving the Bears another chance to be back in the Sweet 16.

But here he is, a medical marvel.

“It was supposed to be a two-year rehab, he did it in less than one,” said 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,” said Dave Snyder, Baylor’s head athletic trainer and assistant athletic director for athletic medicine.

Tchamwa Tchatchoua might be the most amazing medical story of this NCAA Tournament. 

His season-ending injury occurred against Texas on Feb. 12, 2022. He had a four-plus hour surgery to prepare multiple ligaments in his left knee on Feb. 13. But he had to wait until July 1 to repair nerve damage.

Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua injured his knee against Texas on Feb. 12, 2022. He was supposed to be out for two years. (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The nerve damage means he has a drop foot, which according to the Mayo Clinic, is a general term for difficulty lifting the front part of the foot. If you have this condition, the front of your foot might drag on the ground when you walk. He wears a brace that runs from the knee down to the foot to improve his gate.

Tchamwa Tchatchoua, whose nickname is “Everyday Jon,” said that if he doesn’t wear the brace, the foot drops. He can walk, but he’s not the same. The brace helps him run, jump and be something closer to what he was prior to the injury.

Everyday Jon, who is originally from Cameroon and played at the NBA Global Academy in Australia before a one-season stint at UNLV, helped Baylor win the national championship in 2021. He’s one of four players from that team still on the roster.

And he’s arguably the most impactful off the floor. His voice carries. He has a presence.

“He’s loud, he’s verbal and he works so hard,” said Drew.

But he has to be held back. Everyday Jon wasn’t practicing Saturday — the plan is to limit him in practice because he goes all out in games. He scored four points in 17 minutes in the first-round win over UCSB….

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