Quincy Pondexter’s close call on road to recovery: ‘I was close to dying’

Updated: September 23, 2017

9:15 AM ET

FRESNO, Calif. — Quincy Pondexter‘s spacious six-bedroom house in his hometown of Fresno sits on a few acres. For the past eight months, the 29-year-old forward has spent more time here than ever before while rehabbing his injury. It’s a home he’s proud of, especially the theater room, which is equipped with a massive screen, theater-style seating, a pool table and a cards table.

On the wall hang NBA jerseys in framed glass display cases. He has collected them from some of his favorite teammates, including Chris Paul, Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday, and he even has the high school jerseys of two of his former San Joaquin Memorial High teammates, Brook and Robin Lopez.

This is where his family and friends gather for cookouts. It’s where his AAU team, California United, flocks for pizza parties. It’s where he wanted to do this interview, “because when I think of happy times, it occurs in this room,” he said.

After being sidelined the past two seasons, 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.