Victor Oladipo hasn’t yet made up his mind as to whether he’ll play with the Indiana Pacers when the season restarts at Walt Disney World later this month.
Oladipo, however, is expected to be in the lineup when the team scrimmages against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday — their first inside the bubble — something that can only be seen as a positive step.
“I do [think he’ll participate],” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said Monday, via ESPN. “He’s going through the practices, and he’s looking good.
“Our first scrimmage is Thursday, and we’ll see how our guys feel and get them minutes accordingly. Right now, there is no restrictions on anyone.”
Oladipo suffered a quad injury last season, but returned 13 games before the NBA suspended its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He averaged 13.8 points and three assists in those 13 games, and dropped a season-high 27 points in his final game. The 28-year-old cited that injury and said he was planning to opt out of the restart plan to rehab that injury and ensure he doesn’t injure himself again by participating.
The league, however, determined him to be a healthy player and wouldn’t pay him if he opted out of the restart due to injury — something both the league and the union were reportedly back and forth on.
He still traveled to Florida with the team, practiced several times and then reversed course, hinting that he may play after all.
“My body is feeling good,” Oladipo said last week, via the Indianapolis Star. “It was hard for me to assess where I was at from the long [layoff]. Coming down here, getting some practices in, getting my feet under me, going out there playing with the guys, there’s a possibility that I could play. I’m just reassessing myself and my body every day.”
The NBA will resume play on July 30 after what will be nearly a five-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league announced on Monday that its latest round of testing for the virus produced no positive cases among the 346 players, too.
While there is still plenty of time left for him to make his decision, Oladipo felt last week that he was making significant progress.
“When I made my decision, I didn’t think I could play. I wasn’t able to play 5-on-5. I wasn’t able to get up and down. I wasn’t able to practice with the team,” he said, via the Indianapolis Star.
“I wasn’t able to do necessarily game-like things at a high level. After coming down here, reassessing every day out there playing 5-on-5 with these guys, moving around, doing basketball-related things like rebounding, change of speed, changing ends of the floor, running, doing things basketball-related, I’m trending in a positive direction.”
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