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Victor Oladipo Prioritizing Health in Decision to Sit Out NBA’s Return

It has been a long road back for former All-Star Victor Oladipo.

The Indiana Pacers guard ruptured his quad tendon last season and was forced to miss nearly a year of action. Playing in only 13 games with the Pacers this season, Oladipo made the difficult decision to sit out the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign, in an effort to enter next season healthy.

“I really want to play, and as a competitor and teammate this is tearing me apart,” Oladipo told Shams Charania of The Athletic. “I feel like I’m at a great place in my rehab and getting closer and closer to 100 percent. With all the variables, from how I have to build my 5-on-5 workload back up, to the increased risk of a soft tissue injury which could delay my rehab, and the unknown exact set up of the bubble, I just can’t get my mind to being fully comfortable in playing. I have to be smart and this decision hasn’t been easy, but I truly believe continuing on the course I’m on and getting fully healthy for the 2020-21 season is the right decision for me.”

Oladipo will be entering the final year of his four-year, $84-million deal with the Pacers next season, meaning the 28-year old will need to get back to pre-injury form if he wishes to secure a second long term contract.

“Vic looks great and feels great and is in the best shape he’s ever been in,” Oladipo’s therapist Luke Miller said. “He hasn’t had a setback at all. Now it’s about him taking everything into account, close this 2019-20 chapter and focus on 2020-21, which I believe will be a big one. He’s extremely close to the old VO, but he’s not there yet and he knows the work to get back there.”

The absence of Oladipo is compounded with Malcolm Brogdon testing positive for the coronavirus. The Pacers will be entering the bubble tied for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia 76ers and just two games behind the Miami Heat.

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