The Indiana Pacers have done an incredible job staying afloat without All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, who ruptured his quad tendon against the Toronto Raptors last January. The team currently sits at 23-14 on the year, good for sixth place in the loaded Eastern Conference, and are within shouting distance of making a move into the top-4. The potential that we see such a move will increase dramatically once Oladipo returns, and now, we know when the man himself believes that will be the case.
Oladipo sat down with Shams Charania of Stadium and revealed that while plans can change, he believes he has a date for when he can take the floor again. In a bit of good news for the Pacers, his return is tentatively only a few weeks away.
Pacers star Victor Oladipo tells @Stadium he plans to make season debut on Jan. 29 against Chicago and discusses emotions returning from yearlong absence after torn quad tendon in knee. Stay tuned for my full sitdown. pic.twitter.com/lmzwsKmwav
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 8, 2020
“January 29th,” Oladipo told Charania when asked about his return date. “We play the Chicago Bulls at home on a Wednesday night. And that could change, that might not change, who knows, but it’s definitely good to have something to look forward to, especially after 12 months of wondering and hoping and not being sure, 12 months of the unknown.”
Oladipo told Charania that he believes he’s mentally stronger for having gone through everything that happened in the wake of the injury, and that he anticipates that better days lie ahead. It had been reported that Oladipo’s plan was to return sometime at the end of January.
This is monumental news for Indiana, which has been one of the league’s more impressive teams considering what it’s accomplished without their best player. While it stands to reason that he’ll have to shake off some rust from a year-long layoff, the Pacers now know they’ll be able to make a second-half push with Oladipo in tow.