Oladipo opts out of NBA restart, not ‘fully comfortable’ with returning to play

Victor Oladipo cited several concerns, ranging from the pandemic risk to injury risk, for why he is deciding to sit out.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers will finish this season without Victor Oladipo after the two-time All-Star decided to sit out because of the risk of re-injuring his right knee.

Earlier this week, Oladipo told reporters he was still debating whether to join his teammates in Orlando.

“We totally respect and understand Victor’s decision to not play in the restart of the NBA’s season,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said Friday in a statement. “The first priority for our players is, and always will be, their health, whether that be physical or mental health. Victor has looked great in workouts, but the timing of the restart and lack of 5-on-5 activity makes it difficult to for him to commit to playing at the high level he expects with regards to further injury.”

On Wednesday, coach Nate McMillan said he anticipated having Oladipo in the NBA’s “bubble,” working out with his teammates and a final decision would be made at a later date.

But Oladipo didn’t wait that long.

After spending almost a full year rehabbing his right quadriceps tendon, the guard returned to the court Jan. 29.

Oladipo played in 13 games before the season was suspended by the COVID-19 pandemic. He was averaging 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting 39.1%, and appeared to be rounding into form.

His contract expires after next season.

“His future health is the No. 1 priority and we look forward to having him back at full strength for the 2020-21 season,” Pritchard said. “This is not a unique situation for our team, playing without key players like Victor and Jeremy Lamb. This team has shown great resolve in responding to adversity and we fully expect this will be no different. We remain excited about what they can accomplish in Orlando “