METAIRIE, La. -- 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."
Pondexter underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last May, soon after the New Orleans Pelicans' loss to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs. He returned to scrimmaging in late December and was upgraded to questionable on the injury report soon after New Year's. But it was announced days later that Pondexter's season was over before it ever began.
He underwent what he called a "cartilage replacement" procedure in his left knee on Jan. 20, which he expects to provide a "permanent fix."
"It didn't respond as well as we would have hoped," Pondexter said. "It was nothing that we did that, ‘Oh, I tweaked something, hurt something.' It didn't heal like we wanted it to. It was a tricky thing with the kind of injury that I had. Going through that and this new one, this new technique that we used instantly kind of fixed the situation, but you have so much more things to deal with, like scar tissue and fixing other parts of your body. I love Dr. [Riley] Williams and the great job that they did with this last surgery."
Pondexter told the Times–Picayune in July that he "begged" team doctors to delay an MRI on his knee until after the postseason.
Asked if he may have caused more damage to the injury by delaying surgery, Pondexter said, "Yeah, who cares. I might've. I don't know. I don't know if I could have hurt it more or whatever happened. I wouldn't change that for the world. I sacrificed my body for the team, for this great organization and for myself because I love the game so much. I didn't really care about hurting myself even more. At the end of the day I would still have to have surgery, no matter what time it was. A little bit more wouldn't have hurt it."
Pondexter, 28, is no stranger to pain. A sprained right MCL kept him out of 23 games in 2012-13, and a tarsal navicular stress fracture in his right foot a year later limited him to 15 games in 2013-14. After a lackluster start to 2014-15, Pondexter was traded from Memphis to New Orleans, the franchise with which he spent his rookie season, and had perhaps the best stretch of his career. Pondexter shot 43.3 percent from 3-point range and helped the Pelicans, 18-18 overall when he arrived, win 59 percent of their remaining games and clinch their first playoff berth since the departure of Chris Paul.
His encore has yet to come, leaving the injury-marred Pelicans perilously thin on the wings in the meantime. But Pondexter is hopeful for what the future holds after undergoing this second surgery.
"I guarantee I'll be 100 percent by training camp," he said. "That's about it right now. It's gonna be a lot of work, a lot of hard work this summer. It'll be pretty [good]. I'll be well into being on the court by the time training camp comes."