INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For the first time in over a year, Pacers guard Victor Oladipo will return to the floor when Indiana hosts the Chicago Bulls Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Oladipo suffered a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee Jan. 23, 2019 against the Toronto Raptors and missed the remaining 35 regular season games and the playoffs.
"I don't expect to out there and get forty. But, my mentality is that I'm going to get forty," Oladipo said Tuesday after practice.
While riding the bench, Oladipo says he made time to reflect, and aspired to grow as a person off the floor.
"I've had a lot of great things happen to me, because of me not being able to perform and play the game that I love," Oladipo said. "I wouldn't have realized that unless I had to sit down and really be on the outside looking in instead of the inside looking out."
Head Coach Nate McMillan says Oladipo's playing time Wednesday will be limited. McMillan would not disclose his game plan for Oladipo to media Tuesday. But, what the star guard is looking forward to most is sporting blue and gold on the hardwood.
"Just going out there and playing. Getting my first foul. Getting my first free throw. First layup. First dunk. First three," he said. "The first everything is what I'm looking forward to."
Speaking with media Tuesday, Oladipo reflected on his relationship with Kobe Bryant. While Victor says he never met Bryant in person or played against him, they have exchanged phone calls and texts before. Oladipo says Bryant's death has impacted his mindset ahead of his return.
"I was a little nervous a few days ago. But now, I'm just like man, I'm just going to attack the day," he said. "I'm going to do that here on out every time I lace up my shoes and go out there and play."