After the gruesome knee injury he suffered in a win over Texas on Feb. 12, 2022, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua and the Baylor men’s basketball program were told he might never play again. If he did, he probably wouldn’t do so for two years.
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“The pain was just unbearable,” Tchamwa Tchatchoua said in a video detailing his road to recovery. “My leg was unstable. I felt like I had a toothpick on my leg. I felt like I only had one ligament holding on my leg at that moment.”
Slowly but surely, Tchamwa Tchatchoua started working his way back. Nobody could quite believe what they were seeing. Tchamwa Tchatchoua went from wondering if he’d be able to walk normally to dunking to sprinting the floor.
“My leg is healing faster than anybody thought it would, and I just thank God every day for that,” he said in the video, which was released before this season. “But the truth is that this year, my goal is just to be as healthy as I can. And the truth is I’m not going to hang it up. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
What once seemed impossible was becoming reality, and Tchamwa Tchatchoua returned to the court Feb. 4.
A walking miracle.@JonathanTchamwa #SicEm | #CultureofJOY pic.twitter.com/Qc0Dekhn2v
— Baylor Men’s Basketball (@BaylorMBB) February 5, 2023
He scored eight points and pulled down four rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench.
“It was just surreal,” he told the media after the game. “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. I feel like it was a miracle for me to even be out here.”
Head coach Scott Drew praised God for the remarkable healing that had taken place.
“A special day. I want to thank God for just allowing Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua to heal. It’s a miracle,” Drew said that night. “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.”
Tchamwa Tchatchoua — who was recently accepted into Baylor’s Master of Public Health program — leaned on his faith as a source of strength throughout his recovery and gave thanks to God in a tweet celebrating his return, saying, “God works miracles!”
It’s great to be back on the court with my boys!! Baylor family, thank you for welcoming me back during the game today and allowing me to use my life as an example of how God works Miracles!! GOD IS GREAT 🙏🏿🙏🏿🖤
— Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (EJ) (@JonathanTchamwa) February 4, 2023
His return has come at a convenient time for the No. 9 Bears, who have won 10 of their last 11 games and are currently in a three-way tie for first place in the Big 12. Tchamwa Tchatchoua reached double-figures for the first time this season in Baylor’s 79-67 victory over West Virginia on Monday, finishing with 11 points and three rebounds.
Last season’s Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year, Tchamwa Tchatchoua is best known for what he brings on that end of the floor. However, he has unveiled a new dimension to his game since getting back on the court.
Tchamwa Tchatchoua had attempted a total of 16 3-pointers in 85 games before his injury. He’s taken nine in 83 minutes of playing time this season and knocked down four of them.
A key member of Baylor’s 2021 national championship team, Tchamwa Tchatchoua has a chance to capture a second Big 12 regular-season championship and first conference tournament title before the Bears turn their attention to the NCAA Tournament. They visit No. 5 Kansas at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.
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