On Friday afternoon the Indiana Pacers were dealt a blow with the news that Victor Ola dipo has opted out of the NBA’s Orlando restart.
The Indiana Pacers really never had a chance this season. They started poorly after a preseason trip to Asia, and battled injuries from early on to key players. Most importantly, their star guard Victor Oladipo didn’t make his return from a ruptured quad tendon suffered in January of 2019 until January 29th of this year.
The Pacers are a tough, no-quit squad so they still battled their way to the Eastern Conference’s fifth seed with a 39-26 record when the season was suspended, but their hopes of making a playoff run in Orlando was dealt a cruel blow on Friday. The Athletic’s Shams Charania has reported that Oladipo has opted to sit out the NBA’s restart in order to prepare for a full and healthy return for the 2020-21 season.
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Next season is expected to begin in December, which will be almost 23 months after suffering his ruptured quad in a game against the Toronto Raptors.
Oladipo was never really able to get it going this season in his 13 games after returning from injury, but it wasn’t expected that his return would be immediately fruitful anyway. He averaged 13.8 points in 25.9 minutes per game, shooting 39.1 percent from the floor and 30.4 percent from 3-point range.
While he won’t play, Charania reports that he’ll join the team as part of their 35-person traveling party.
The Indiana Pacers will be entering play in the Disney bubble shorthanded with not only Oladipo missing the league’s restart, but Jeremy Lamb as well. Lamb suffered catastrophic a knee injury in February, also in a game against the Raptors. He tore his ACL, his meniscus and fractured a bone in his knee.
In addition, guard Malcolm Brogdon tested positive for COVID-19 in late June when the NBA began testing its players, although he’s expected to participate in training camp and the league’s restart.
The Pacers are the latest team to find themselves significantly hampered by injuries and illness as the Brooklyn Nets are enduring something similar themselves. Guard Spencer Dinwiddie tested positive for COVID-19 and has been symptomatic, leaving him questionable to join the Nets in Orlando. Center DeAndre Jordan has also tested positive and will not join the team.