Pacers’ Oladipo recovering from season-ending knee injury
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Victor Oladipo’s season-ending injury occurred in the same area of his right knee that forced him to miss 11 games earlier this season.
He is uncertain if the two are related. At this point, the star guard for the Indiana Pacers doesn’t really think it matters.
For now, Oladipo remains in Miami, on crutches, working his way back into shape so he can return to Indianapolis before the end of this season after rupturing the quad tendon in his knee.
“I can’t say it’s related, but I really wouldn’t know. I can’t really say it is related because I wouldn’t know that, either,” Oladipo said during a conference call. “Sure, it might be connected but who knows. I’m not focused on the past because I have no control over that just like I have no control over the future.”
There is no timetable for his return to the court.
In his first public comments since hurting the knee on Jan. 23, Oladipo acknowledged the soreness he felt in November and December was in the same general area as the more serious injury — just above the right knee. A few days before he went down, while scrambling back on defense against Toronto, Pacers fans openly questioned whether Oladipo was 100 percent and cited, in part, Oladipo’s statistical decline.
He averaged 23.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals, all career bests, in 2017-18 when he made his first All-Star appearance and was named the league’s Most Improved Player. This season he was averaging 18.8 points and 1.7 steals though his rebounding total increased to 5.6. He was selected to his second All-Star team following the injury.
While Oladipo declined to draw a direct link between the initial pain and the ruptured quad tendon, he acknowledged the surgeons removed all “unnecessary things” in the right knee.
“In the quad tendon area, yes, very similar. (I was) just doing the necessary things they felt was best to get stronger,” Oladipo said, describing his rehab regimen from the sore knee. “It was just a freak accident.”
After beating Toronto on the night Oladipo was taken off the court on a stretcher, the Pacers lost their next four games — their longest skid in more than 12 months. Oladipo told reporters Monday he was disappointed and felt as if he had let down his teammates.
But Oladipo helped turn things around when he met with his teammates before they played at Miami on Feb. 2.
Indiana beat the Heat 95-88, the first victory in a five-game streak going into Monday’s home game against Charlotte. They’re still No. 3 in the Eastern Conference standings and Oladipo still hopes to play an active role in the Pacers’ fate.
“If I have my two cents or if I see something, I might text the players or coach,” he said. “But for the most part when they came and visited me in Miami, I told them what I thought they needed to hear. The team is very capable of doing special things without me.”