AMES, IOWA — Before the first question ever came for Fred Hoiberg on Friday, he talked candidly about his story and heart condition for more than 11 minutes.
Hoiberg spoke with emotion, pausing for scary a story involving his wife. And even with his open heart operation awaiting him one week from now, Hoiberg still showed his sense of humor as he became a spokesperson for heart awareness.
Here are some extras from Hoiberg’s news conference.
Hoiberg hopeful for summer return
Fred Hoiberg's health is, without doubt, the central focus of Iowa State and everybody who surrounds the program. With that said, Hoiberg did share a few details in regard to how this will affect the program in the coming weeks.
Hoiberg’s open heart surgery will require a 4-6 week recovery, meaning he'll be out of recruiting in terms of travel for awhile beginning with his trip to the Mayo Clinic next Wednesday leading into Friday’s surgery.
It sounds as if Micah Byars could do some travel to help, and Hoiberg said he hopes to be back for at least part of, and potentially all, of the July open recruiting period.
Iowa State goes to Spain in August, and Hoiberg is expected to be fine for that. He said Friday, however, that he may have his assistant coaches play a larger role in the 10 summer workouts allowed leading into the trip overseas.
Changes coming for Hoiberg
As was the case following Hoiberg’s first surgery, there will be changes coming for the fifth-year coach after he undergoes his upcoming operation.
Hoiberg can no longer do strenuous exercises after his 2005 surgery, and is primarily restricted to walking in terms of working out.
Now, he’ll have to cut back on his diet.
“I won’t be able to eat dark, green, leafy vegetables anymore,” Hoiberg said, still showing his sense of humor. “Damn.”
During practices, Hoiberg often stands at midcourt. He said that, too, would likely change. Last season Hoiberg was involved in a big collision with Matt Thomas while the sophomore guard was running the floor in practice. Hoiberg will be on blood thinners after surgery, which will cause a change in his practice setup.
“I’ll probably have to stand on the side now because I’ll bruise easier,” Hoiberg said. “If you get hit it could cause some internal bleeding with the blood thinners.”
Summer golfing postponed
While Hoiberg recovers from his surgery, he doesn’t expect to hit the golf course. He shared a story from 2005, when he went golfing with NBA legend Kevin McHale, then working for the Timberwolves, and a video guy.
“God, I was playing great,” Hoiberg said. “I slowed my swing down for the first time in my life. Then all of a sudden my incision started bleeding. I was kind of collecting a pool of blood at the bottom of my incision. I remember McHale saying to me, ‘God, this is embarrassing. I’m getting my ass kicked by a guy who has blood seeping out of his wound.’ That was pretty cool.”
Hoiberg still in good spirits
In recent seasons, Hoiberg has become well known for his dry sense of humor, and despite the seriousness of his current situation, that humor didn’t elude him Friday as he joked while meeting with the media.
First, Hoiberg told a story of his stay in the hospital in 2005.
“I remember the nurse said, ‘There’s a little boy from Iowa down here,’” Hoiberg said. “They had explained, there’s a Timberwolf, would you like him to come visit you. He got scared because he thought there was an actual Timberwolf. You go down there and shoot, you’ve got a little kid getting a procedure done and he probably won’t be able to do what I did. I lived out a dream. I played 10 years in the NBA. That’s who you feel bad for are the kids who are going through that.”
Hoiberg also talked about the visible stress from last season.
“People that were close to me said, ‘Man, what’s wrong with you, you look pale,’” Hoiberg said. “I said, ‘Well, hell, it’s December in Iowa you look pale, too.’”