Pacers' Victor Oladipo 'Optimistic' About Playing vs. 76ers amid Quad Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 31, 2020

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (4) reacts to making a shot late in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AJ MAST/Associated Press

Indiana Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo told reporters that he's optimistic he can return to the court for his team's game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

"I felt good today," Oladipo said per J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star. "We'll see what tomorrow brings. ... I'm optimistic."

Oladipo suffered a right quad tendon tear that forced him off the court from January 2019 to January 2020. Upon his return, he averaged 13.8 points in 25.9 minutes per game but experienced right knee soreness prior to the NBA season being suspended on March 11 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 28-year-old initially said that he would not participate in the NBA's restart in Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic, with the ex-Indiana star citing his need to be fully healthy for the 2020-21 season.

But Oladipo changed his mind, joined the Pacers in the NBA bubble and played in all three of the Pacers' scrimmages, averaging 11.3 points in 25.0 minutes per game.

The Pacers' matchup with the 76ers will be the first of eight "seeding games" for the team prior to the playoffs, which begin August 17.

Oladipo would be a welcome sight to a team already short-handed sans All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis, who is seeking treatment away from the team for plantar fasciitis.

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Sabonis averages 18.5 points per game, second on the team behind T.J. Warren. He's arguably the Pacers' most valuable player, shooting 54.0 percent from the field and adding 12.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.

Replacing that production is improbable, but adding Oladipo to the mix can provide support for Warren and Malcolm Brogdon, who would be expected to carry much of the offensive load without the big man.

But it's not a guarantee that Oladipo will be able to consistently contribute, as the guard classifies his knee ailment as a "day-by-day thing."

"Who knows how my knee responds to my play tomorrow," he told reporters. "I wish I could tell you guys I'm in it for the long haul, but it's a different situation that I'm in."

He added: "No one else has had this injury at my age. It's very rare. Right now, I'm trying to figure things out. This is my knee, my body, my leg, and I got to listen to how I respond because everybody responds differently."

The first day to determine his playing status will be Saturday, and Oladipo explained how the process will go down.

"I'll decide [Saturday]," Oladipo said. "Meet with the coaching staff. Meet with the medical staff. Meet with my guys. See if it's the best thing for me to do. If I feel good, let's go. Let's play."

Indiana has already clinched a playoff spot, and its final eight games will help determine its final seeding in the Eastern Conference postseason bracket. The Pacers are tied for fifth with the 76ers, and game time between those two teams will be at 7 p.m. ET.

If Oladipo can't go, then his next opportunity to play will be Monday against the Washington Wizards at 4 p.m. ET.