INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Victor Oladipo is out for the season with a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee.
An MRI confirmed the injury Thursday. The all-star guard will undergo surgery at a date to be determined later.
“It’s devastating news,” said guard Darren Collison. “We’ll see what we have to do as a team, but now we’re focusing on Vic’s health making sure he’s okay and come back tomorrow at practice and go from there.”
“I talked to Vic last night, his spirits are high,” center Myles Turner said. “He’s bummed. I know how much he wants to win and bring glory to this organization, but you really couldn’t tell by talking to him that he’s down.”
The injury happened as Oladipo ran back on defense in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game against Toronto at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Trainers had to drape a towel over his knee and take him off the floor on a stretcher.
Oladipo has undoubtedly been the Pacers’ best player since being acquired from Oklahoma City, along with Domantas Sabonis for Paul George in the summer of 2017.
“Very, very tough to see a guy so positive and mean so much to us go down at this part of the season,” said forward Thaddeus Young. “We need him, but we can’t look back and be sad. He wants us to be positive and happy.”
He averaged 23.1 points per game in his first season in Indiana, earning his first all-star appearance and almost leading the team to an upset of LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Oladipo is averaging 18.8 points per game in 36 games this season. He missed 11 games earlier in the season with soreness in the same knee he injured Wednesday. The Pacers went 7-4 without him.
“It’s next man up,” head coach Nate McMillan said. “We’ll move Tyreke Evans into that starting position. Aaron Holiday will back him up. This time Vic’s not coming back this season. We’ve got to move forward. The season’s not over and we will take the same approach, one game at a time.”
Former Pacers forward Paul George knows a thing or two about a season-ending injury. He suffered compound fracture in his right leg during the 2014 offseason, which left him only able to play six games. He said he texted Oladipo after he saw the injury to wish him well.
“It is tough, especially for a team that’s playing so well, and him just really holding it down over there. I feel for the fans, the city, the state for them to have to go through that again. It’s tough for the franchise,” he said.
Paul George on Victor Oladipo’s injury: pic.twitter.com/Hi5nKMon60
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) January 24, 2019
Team President Kevin Pritchard said he’s sure Oladipo will be back.
“Never challenge his will,” he said.
I can promise one thing @VicOladipo will be back. Never challenge his will. That you can take to the bank.
— Kevin Pritchard (@PacersKev) January 24, 2019
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) January 24, 2019