As the roster dominos begin to fall in Orlando during the NBA restart, one of the decisions with the biggest short- and long-term impact is what happens with the Indiana Pacers and Victor Oladipo, who missed most of the 2019-20 season with a ruptured quad tendon but had been working his way back when the league pressed paused in March.
After initially saying he would not play for the remainder of the season, Oladipo still traveled with the team to Orlando to be around teammates and practice. Those practices have gone so well, according to Oladipo himself as well as head coach Nate McMillan, to the point that it’s now a “strong possibility” that Oladipo indeed takes the court at some point for the Pacers at Walt Disney World.
Oladipo explained why he has gone back and forth, saying, “It was hard for me to assess where I was at…with Corona and all of that, I couldn’t really control it.”
Most players did not have access to in-person sessions with team medical staff until last month. While players like Bradley Beal, Kelly Oubre Jr., and Davis Bertans have chosen to sit so as to not risk further injury, Oladipo represents a major swing factor in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Pacers are currently fifth in the East standings, likely set to face the Heat or Sixers in the first round. Without Oladipo, Indiana would be hard-pressed to put together a competitive series. A healthy Oladipo would make them a pretty interesting team, with Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis both playing at an All-Star level as well.