Fresno native and NBA star Quincy Pondexter recently revealed that his life was nearly ended by a shocking infection that was discovered after knee surgeries.
The Chicago Bulls basketball player told ESPN that earlier this year he was diagnosed with MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), a staph bacteria that causes infections that are difficult to manage and can be fatal if not treated properly.
“We didn’t want anyone to know, and I didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for me,” Pondexter told ESPN. “And when I was in the hospital, I would look on Twitter and see all the nasty comments saying, ‘He’s stealing money. He’s at home chillin’ and all this (expletive).”
But Pondexter said it was nothing like that. “I was close to dying,” he said.
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The diagnosis came after Pondexter underwent two knee surgeries – in 2015 and 2016 – that sidelined him for the basketball seasons, he said. The knee complications never seemed to go away.
And when he traveled to New York in January for a checkup on his knee, Pondexter told ESPN, he collapsed at a New York pharmacy after his body temperature reached 104. Once at the hospital, his knee was drained of fluids and then the infection was discovered. Pondexter’s doctors told him the infection tends to complicate the healing process of a significant injury.
Since he couldn’t be on the court with his team, Pondexter followed its progress on Twitter. And he’s no longer constrained to a hospital bed – ESPN reported the 29-year-old has spent the past eight months at his Fresno home in rehab.
In other shocking news to him, this month Pondexter was traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Bulls, the same team his uncle Cliff Pondexter played for in the 1970s.
In May this year, Pondexter set out to do good for his hometown by offering $20,000 to a needy organization. The San Joaquin Memorial High School graduate has hosted a yearly basketball camp in Fresno and also held a turkey giveaway.
For now, Pondexter is reflecting on what could have been the end of his life. He’s grateful.
“All the doctors, they can’t really explain how I’ve been able to recover and do so well, but we’ve had a great team of people that have really mended me back to health,” he told ESPN. “A few months ago, it was almost over. I’m alive, and I get to play basketball again. It’s a miracle.”