In the summer of 2016, Charlotte Hornets forward Frank Kaminsky had what he thought would be a minor procedure to close an air pocket in his chest.
As Kaminsky described Monday, his first true hospitalization was anything but minor.
“I was in the hospital for like four days with tubes in my chest. It wasn’t fun,” Kaminsky said. “I had never stayed overnight in a hospital before, and I was there for four nights. I was calling my mom every morning like, ‘Please, come, like please someone, anyone come hang out, let me do anything.
“I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I didn’t feel good, I didn’t like taking any of the pain medicine...it was a whole miserable process.”
Never miss a local story.
This started a slow crawl back from the surgery that affected at least the first two months of his second NBA season.
Kaminsky was feeling a lot of pain. He was worried about his chest, but he wanted to get back to summer conditioning and basketball drills.
“I kept telling myself everything will get back to normal with me when basketball starts back up again,” Kaminsky said. “I was just so excited to be able to do something again, because I was really losing my mind.
“I kind of had somewhat of a mental breakdown. It was like mental overload for me.”
During recovery, Kaminsky lost about 15 pounds.
As Kaminsky started sleeping and eating right again, he rediscovered the strength that made him a force as a rookie. He stopped waking up tired, no longer burnt-out from trying to cram recovery into the last few weeks before the season.
Eventually, he averaged 11.7 points and 4.5 rebounds for a Hornets team that missed the playoffs.
Kaminsky was determined over the summer to show how productive he could be with an offseason free of injury.
“It’s all part of growing up,” Kaminsky said, “and learning what this league is about and what my body is capable of.”