INDIANAPOLIS – Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has decided to sit out the NBA’s restart in Orlando.
Oladipo shared his decision with Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
“I really want to play and as a competitor and teammate this is tearing me apart,” Oladipo told 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.”
“We totally respect and understand Victor’s decision to not play in the restart of the NBA’s season,” Pacers president Kevin Pritchard said 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 for him to commit to playing at the high level he expects with regards to further injury. His future health is the No. 1 priority and we look forward to having him back at full strength for the 2020-21 season.”
Oladipo’s decision comes two days after he told media he was unsure about participating at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, where 22 teams are scheduled to begin competing July 30.
Pritchard had said earlier in the week that Oladipo is in better physical shape than he has seen in a long time.
But Oladipo explained Wednesday rehabbing his right quad tendon, which he ruptured in January 2019, was at the center of his hesitancy to play.
“We’ve had an extensive period of time off,” Oladipo said. “To go back and ramp things up again, I’m susceptible to injury more so than anyone else since I was already injured beforehand and I wasn’t 100 percent when I came back to begin with.”
Oladipo returned to game action on January 29 against the Bulls.
The Pacers play the first of eight seeding games August 21 against the 76ers.
“This is not a unique situation for our team, playing without key players like Victor and Jeremy Lamb” Pritchard added in the team statement. “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.”