Oladipo to continue rehab, plans to return next season

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo said he will sit out the remainder of the NBA season because he doesn’t want to risk re-injuring his surgically-repaired right knee.

Oladipo wants to complete his rehabilitation and hopes to get back to 100 per cent fitness before playing competitive games again in the 2020-21 season.

“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 per cent.

“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.”

Oladipo suffered a ruptured right quad tendon in a game against the Toronto Raptors 17 months ago. He underwent surgery on January 28, 2019.

Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers. PHOTO: AFP

By the time he starts playing again Oladipo will have undergone almost two years of rehab for the injury.

“We totally respect and understand Victor’s decision to not play in the restart of the NBA’s season,” a Pacers spokesman said on Friday. “The first priority for our players is, and always will be, their health.

“The timing of the restart and lack of five-on-five activity makes it difficult … for him to commit to playing at the high level he expects with regards to further injury. We look forward to having him back at full strength for the 2020-21 season.”

Oladipo still plans to travel to Orlando to workout with the club.

He missed most of this season before returning January 29 and playing in 13 games before the mid-March shutdown because of coronavirus. He averaged 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and three assists this season.