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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

Victor Oladipo opts out of NBA restart

Victor Oladipo

Victor Oladipo is the latest player to opt out of participating in the NBA’s restarted season.

Oladipo is still working his way back from a ruptured quad he suffered in January 2019, and did not appear at full strength when he returned prior to the league shutdown. He told Shams Charania of The Athletic that he wanted to play, but did not feel comfortable due to the risks of the bubble and the danger of potential soft tissue injuries after so much time off.

“I really want to play, and as a competitor and teammate this is tearing me apart,” Oladipo said. “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 missed a full year with his injury. When he returned before the NBA shutdown, he averaged 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game in 13 games. He admitted that he was not all that close to full strength in those games, which likely helped account for his modest stats.

The 28-year-old has been working with personal therapist Luke Miller during the shutdown. While the Pacers guard looks and feels good, he’s simply not willing to risk all that hard work being for naught by playing in this environment after that much time off.

Oladipo’s Pacers are 39-26 and occupy the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. They managed to go 32-20 without him in the lineup this season, so they’ll hope they can find that form again in spite of his absence.

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