The possibility remains that Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo could return from injury and aid in his team’s playoff push as the NBA nears a resumption of the 2019-20 campaign. However, the former two-time All-Star told ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski that he plans to increase his physical activity and have his surgically repaired torn quadriceps tendon reevaluated before he makes a commitment to rejoining Indiana ahead of its trip to the league’s bubble environment in Orlando, Florida.
“I feel a whole lot better,” Oladipo said. “I know there’s risk going into it with the unique situation that I’m in — being off so long and trying to ramp it up that fast. I’ve just got to be smart, that’s all.”
He’ll have until Wednesday, June 24 to make a final determination about playing, which is the deadline that the league has set for players to decide whether or not they plan to participate in the 22-team restart, which is scheduled to begin on July 30. Teams must submit their respective rosters of eligible players on July 1.
When the NBA made the decision to suspend play on March 11 in response to the first positive COVID-19 test result for one of its players, Oladipo was still working his way back from a devastating injury at the time and had only appeared in 13 games this season. The 28-year-old didn’t play more than 29 minutes in any of those games, either, as Indiana has approached Oladipo’s rehab conservatively.
Oladipo was originally injured last season during a January 2019 game against the Toronto Raptors; his official return to the court came more than a year later.
Even if he’s playing at a slightly diminished capacity, the Pacers could definitely use Oladipo in their postseason push. Heading into the restart, the team owns a 39-26 record, which is good for No. 5 in the Eastern Conference standings. However, they’re tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for the spot, and will also be just two games behind the Miami Heat for the No. 4 seed and a first-round home court advantage in the playoffs when the season resumes.
Over parts of three seasons in Indiana — the latter two having been significantly affected by his injury — Oladipo has averaged 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals per contest. He has also logged an effective field goal percentage of 50.7 over that span and been a solid performer defensively as well.
As shared previously by The Inquisitr, Oladipo could potentially be the Heat’s Plan B if they are unable to make a successful play for Milwaukee Bucks star and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo during the 2021 offseason.