The Indiana Pacers are 21-10 as we arrive at Christmas, which is a bit of a surprise given the team has been operating without their star guard Victor Oladipo for the entirety of the is season as he recovers from a ruptured quad tendon.
The Pacers played well in Oladipo’s absence a year ago, but some slippage was expected, even if there’s little surprise they’re still a playoff team with the addition of Malcolm Brogdon and others. Oladipo’s absence is significant, though, and his presence raises the ceiling of the team tremendously. Pacers fans got a nice Christmas present on Wednesday in the form of a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Oladipo is targeting a pre-All Star return to the floor.
Indiana Pacers All-Star guard Victor Oladipo is hopeful to return to the lineup by early February — and perhaps as soon as late January — from a right ruptured quad tendon, league sources tell ESPN.
The Pacers could use the added offensive pop brought by Oladipo, both as a shooter and as another strong ball-handler next to Brogdon. That pairing will be very interesting to see work its way into a rhythm, and the duo could push the Pacers into the conversation as a real contender at the top of the East, given how well they’re playing now in his absence.
Oladipo has practiced a few times with Indiana’s G League affiliate, signaling he’s been ramping up on court activity, and he may be just a month away from making his season debut. Doing so before All-Star might be smart, as he’d be able to get a few games under his belt before having some time off to see how his body is responding.