In January 2019, Victor Oladipo ruptured the quad tendon in his right knee. He was out for over a year, returning to the court 371 days later for the Indiana Pacers, who got off to a very fast start without him. Now, they will need to find that rhythm once again with the upcoming NBA restart.
Oladipo wound up playing in 13 games before the NBA season was put on hold in March. He started 10, averaging 13.8 points in just over 25 minutes per game. He was clearly still recovering from that significant knee injury, and wasn’t quite the same player that impressed so much for the Pacers after being acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As with other NBA stars who have health concerns, Oladipo had to decide whether it was worth it for him to return to play in the NBA restart in Orlando. The league is taking over part of Disney’s campus, in a semi-bubble environment for the league’s top 22 playoff contenders. The Pacers are in the heat of it, currently occupying the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference at 39-26.
Ultimately, Victor Oladipo has decided against returning to play. He spoke to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania, and made it official that he will not make his way to Orlando. It is a tough blow to a Pacers team hoping for a surprise run in the upcoming NBA Playoffs.
Full story: https://t.co/9N4fioq1xs
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 3, 2020
“I really want to play, and as a competitor and teammate this is tearing me apart,” Oladipo told The Athletic. “I feel like I’m at a great place in my rehab and getting closer and closer to 100 percent.”
Ultimately, he decided that the unknowns and variables were reasons to skip the NBA restart. That is certainly fair, as the bubble plan, while pretty well thought out and constructed by the league, is far from foolproof.
“With all the variables, from how I have to build my 5-on-5 workload back up, to the increased risk of a soft tissue injury which could delay my rehab, and the unknown exact set up of the bubble, I just can’t get my mind to being fully comfortable in playing. I have to be smart and this decision hasn’t been easy, but I truly believe continuing on the course I’m on and getting fully healthy for the 2020-21 season is the right decision for me.”
Oladipo now enters a big offseason, with just one year left on his contract with the Indiana Pacers. He has been the subject of some trade speculation, as he could be in line for a big pay day come 2021, and the Pacers may not be able to commit to him with franchise money.
The NBA is set to begin play on July 30. Teams are reporting to Orlando between the 7th and 9th, with training camp starting the 11th.