KC Johnson: Pondexter starts the 2nd quarter, his first NBA action since April 2015. What a story. Survived 3 knee surgeries, life threatening infection
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KC Johnson: Bulls say Quincy Pondexter strained left hamstring at tail end of practice. He’ll be re-evaluated Sunday. That’s leg with 3 knee surgeries.
Pondexter, acquired from the Pelicans in a salary dump that netted the Bulls a future second-round pick, hasn’t played or practiced regularly since May 2015. In that time, he has endured three left knee surgeries, including a failed microfracture procedure, and recently revealed in an ESPN.com profile that he feared death when a serious skin infection followed one surgery.
Pondexter, who has been working out in Chicago since Labor Day, said his knee feels great. “Nine months ago, I thought it was over — not even just basketball but my life,” Pondexter said. “So to be in this position, to be able to practice fully with no limitations, it’s crazy.”
Quincy Pondexter: “There haven’t been too many training wheels on this whole thing. Especially getting traded to a new organization, it wasn’t like ‘Oh, let’s get to know me slowly.’ It was, ‘Get your butt on the court and let’s see what you can do.’ It has been pretty exciting, man. I’ve surprised myself, just being able to play at a high level.”
Mike McGraw: Gar says Quincy Pondexter will practice tomorrow. Hasn’t played last 2 seasons due to knee issues. #Bulls
However, league sources familiar with the situation tell a slightly different story about Pondexter’s travails, from the Pelicans’ perspective. On one occasion, the Pelicans believed Pondexter was on the cusp of returning, only to learn his recovery had been derailed. Sources indicated doctors outside of the Pelicans’ medical staff performed all of Pondexter’s surgeries, which isn’t a rarity in the league, but it kept the team from driving some of the major decisions. The most controversial procedure came in early 2016, his second surgery on the left knee.
The Pelicans felt Pondexter was nearly ready to play, but instead he opted to undergo a procedure that had only been performed a handful of times on professional athletes and involved using cartilage from a cadaver. It “scared the team to death” a league source said about the surgery and ensured Pondexter’s hopes for playing in the 2015-16 season were dashed. While the Pelicans’ medical staff ultimately agreed to each of the surgeries, there was significant hesitation from the team’s perspective on the early 2016 procedure, because Pondexter had nearly reached the end of his rehab schedule and participated in a full practice.
But, beyond the bout with MRSA, sources said Pondexter did approximately 70 percent of his rehab off site from New Orleans, choosing his own medical group and physical therapists. The Pelicans sent staff to routinely monitor Pondexter and received weekly reports, but his rehab was largely driven by his hand-picked medical group, according to sources.
After being sidelined the past two seasons, Quincy Pondexter is ready to make his comeback on opening night for the Chicago Bulls, who acquired him from the New Orleans Pelicans this summer. He is finally healthy after multiple surgical procedures — and major setbacks — on his left knee. It’s been a longer journey than many people know about. While his knee problems have been public, Pondexter revealed to ESPN that his health issues were much grimmer. He was dealing with a life-threatening infection. He thought he was going to die.
“I tried to do everything possible to play, and my knee felt really, really bad,” Pondexter said. “I couldn’t even walk upstairs or do anything, let alone run, jump or anything like that, but I wanted to sacrifice everything for the Pelicans.”
Pondexter traveled to New York on Jan. 1, 2017, to get his knee scoped again. But on this trip, his health suddenly began to deteriorate. While in his hotel room, he became nauseated and started breathing heavily. His temperature shot to 104. He walked to a Duane Reade pharmacy to pick up a prescription for the pain. But while waiting in line, his vision blurred, and the 6-foot-7 forward collapsed onto the floor. Customers and employees tended to the NBA veteran, giving him a chair and some water. Paramedics were called to the scene, as was his physical therapist. Pondexter was drenched in sweat. He was terrified, bewildered and in excruciating pain. He didn’t have control over his body and feared he was dying.
Following the third procedure on his knee, he was hospitalized for a month. “I was getting checked on every two hours in the hospital,” he said. “I was doing three full bags of liquid antibiotics, which took close to two hours each time. There was a point where I was connected on both sides, whether it was antibiotics or IVs or all types of other medicines to keep me alive. It was pretty crazy. It’s a full day, 24 hours, around-the-clock watch over that recovery. You’re trying to eliminate an infection that’s deadly.”
“Quincy looks great, physically and mentally,” said Dr. Snehal Patel, a physical therapist who treated him in New York. “I can’t predict anything, but I think he’s primed to make a great comeback in the league.” Jrue Holiday, too, is rooting for his former teammate. “Quincy is one of the hardest working teammates I’ve ever had,” Holiday said. “Being injured, I understand how hard it is to come back. I have seen Q put in the work needed on a daily basis. Through setbacks and tough times, he has been positive and still has been a great teammate, which at times can be really hard. We need more professionals like him.”
Justin Verrier: Pelicans confirm Omer Asik and Quincy Pondexter are out for the rest of the season. Asik expected to return to bball activities in 3-4 weeks
With just 19 days left and 11 games to play, center Omer Asik (illness) and shooting guard Quincy Pondexter (left knee) are unlikely to return for the remainder of the regular season, New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “Both of those guys will be gearing toward the summer and next year, really,” Gentry said.
Pondexter underwent a third surgery on his left knee in January. He has not played in an NBA game since the 2015 postseason. “I don’t think so,” Gentry said of Pondexter returning this season. “Not with basically two-and-a-half weeks left in the season. I don’t know if that would be a possibility, either.”
E’Twaun Moore (personal) and Omer Asik (illness) are listed as out for Saturday’s game. In addition to Quincy Pondexter (knee) being out, that means New Orleans only has 12 players in uniform. Second-round pick and rookie Cheick Diallo is with the Pelicans and among those dozen players.
The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that forward Quincy Pondexter underwent successful arthroscopic left knee surgery this morning. A timetable for his return will be released at a later date.
Justin Verrier: The Pelicans announce that Quincy Pondexter underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. That’s three procedures in almost a year.
Jason Calmes: Quincy Pondexter clarifies that he’s has two major surgeries. Says it needs to get stronger.
Small forward Quincy Pondexter, who missed the entire 2015-16 season following knee surgery, reached a key step in his rehabilitation process Wednesday, going through live drills in the practice facility. His timetable to return to action is uncertain, with it possible that he could miss the early part of the regular seaon, or be able to play when preseason games begin Oct. 1.
Quincy Pondexter: Knee is feeling great!!! Will be better than ever next season
#TankFlight: Hows that knee feeling? Quincy Pondexter: Knee is feeling great!!! Will be better than ever next season.
Quincy Pondexter said he knew “for a while” before he was officially shut down in January that he wouldn’t log a single minute in the 2015-16 season. Accepting it was a different story. “We tried everything. We almost tried witch doctors to try to get me back on the court,” he said Saturday with a smirk. “It didn’t really work, and we had to. We had to go under the knife again. But at the end of the day, we made a really great, conscious decision, and it’s worked out pretty well.”
Justin Verrier: Quincy Pondexter also spoke to media today. Said he had cartilage replacement procedure and expects to be back 100% by 2016 training camp.
Justin Verrier: Pondexter on if waiting until after playoffs for surgery affected him: “Yeah, who cares. I might’ve. I don’t know.” Said he has no regrets.
Quincy Pondexter: Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed that I won’t be able to play this season. It’s been a difficult time for me personally, not being on the floor to help my teammates this season. Although I’m extremely upset, I know that it’s in my best interest to allow my knee to completely heal before returning to the court after this upcoming surgery. I want to thank my family, friends, coaches, teammates and, most importantly, all the Pelicans’ fans for their support throughout this process. Your words of encouragement have given me the strength to push through my rehab and continue to fight through this extensive road to recovery. I’m confident that I’ll come back stronger after this surgery and promise to put all of my focus and effort into returning next year in the best shape possible.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Quincy Pondexter will undergo season-ending left knee surgery on Jan. 20 in New York, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Pondexter had yet to play this season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in the offseason, with the team recently announcing a one-to-two week return timetable for him.
Scott Kushner: Quincy Pondexter is not playing tonight for #Pelicans.
Scott Kushner: Gentry said Quincy Pondexter will likely be back “in the next couple of weeks”. #Pelicans
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February 17, 2018 | 10:10 pm EST Update
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