Pacers 'Have a Plan' for Victor Oladipo to Play in NBA Restart After Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2020

Indiana Pacers' Victor Oladipo (4) enters the game during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

With their biggest star yet to commit to the NBA's restart in Orlando, Florida, Indiana Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard explained how Victor Oladipo's continued progress from a ruptured quad tendon would be a focus for the team.

"I don't think I've seen him in better shape," Pritchard told reporters Tuesday in a conference call.

Pritchard added that the Pacers "have a plan" that would help Oladipo play and "move up" his physical workload.

According to the Indianapolis Star's J. Michael, the Pacers will meet with the two-time All-Star on July 7 and 8 to discuss his possible participation in the restart.

Oladipo told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski he was still on the fence about traveling to Walt Disney World Resort.

"I feel a whole lot better," he said. "I know there's risk going into it with the unique situation that I'm in—being off so long and trying to ramp it up that fast. I've just got to be smart, that's all."

The Pacers guard returned to the court in January and made 13 appearances prior to the NBA suspending the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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While the 28-year-old has obviously progressed past the rehab portion of his recovery, his surgically repaired quad still requires a level of specialized care.

Two seasons removed from the quad injury that limited him to six games, Kawhi Leonard still utilizes a load-management plan that prevents him from appearing in back-to-back games.

Particularly in the early stages of the pandemic, Oladipo would've been prevented from performing the kind of workouts he would've laid out in order to continue playing himself back into shape. The NBA forced teams to close practice facilities and many local governments laid out restrictions that temporarily shuttered public gyms.

Oladipo was clearly not himself earlier this season, which was natural after a more than yearlong layoff. He averaged 13.8 points while shooting 39.1 percent from the field and 30.1 percent from beyond the arc. Turning around and missing multiple months won't exactly help him shake off the rust.

Indiana has already qualified for the playoffs with a 39-26 record, so the team is already in the postseason even if it loses all eight of its seeding games.

Losing Oladipo would put a serious dent in the Pacers' aspirations of getting out of the first round, though.

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