The Indiana Pacers may be getting some help from a seemingly unlikely source as the team prepares, along with 21 others, to participate in the resumption of the NBA season in Orlando, Florida later this month. Indy’s two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo, who earlier this month indicated that he would opt out of participating due to his previously injured knee, told reporters on a Wednesday conference call that there remains a possibility he could play.
As relayed by the Indianapolis Star‘s J. Michael, the 28-year-old combo guard said that re-joining his Pacers teammates in their preparation for the league’s July 30 restart allowed him to better assess his body and his ability to perform. In doing so, he determined that that he couldn’t rule out a return to the hardwood this season.
“My body is feeling good,” Oladipo said during the conference call. “It was hard for me to assess where I was at from the long (layoff). Coming down here, getting some practices in, getting my feet under me, going out there playing with the guys, there’s a possibility that I could play. I’m just reassessing myself and my body every day.”
On July 3, The Inquisitr shared that Oladipo would be opting out of entering the league’s bubble environment to suit up for his club. At the time, Oladipo had expressed a strong desire to play when speaking with The Athletic‘s Shams Charania, but ultimately declared that an “increased risk of a soft tissue injury” and other variables surrounding the league’s unprecedented single-venue restart precluded him from feeling comfortable about doing so.
Oladipo and his team have consistently taken the cautious approach with regard to his health since he suffered a ruptured quad tendon in his knee in January of 2019. After losing the back half of the 2018-19 campaign following surgery, Oladipo continued to sit out through the first half of this season. While he did return to the team just before the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the league to suspend play, he hadn’t been playing heavy minutes.
Although uncertainty abounds as it relates to what Oladipo will be able to bring to the table, he had shown signs that he was rounding back into form ahead of the suspension of play. On March 10, he scored a season-high 27 points against the Boston Celtics, adding seven rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes.
Over parts of three seasons with the Pacers, Oladipo has averaged 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals per contest, while registering an effective field goal percentage of 51.6.
Heading into the NBA restart, the Pacers sit in the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference, just two games behind the fourth-place Miami Heat (and home-court advantage in the first-round of the NBA Playoffs). They are, however, tied with the Philadelphia 76ers — both teams sit at 39-26 on the season.