Pacers playoff hopes could hinge on Oladipo’s decision

After initially announcing he would not play in Florida because of concerns over his surgically-repaired right knee, the two-time All-Star backtracked and said he may reconsider if he could perform at a high level and he felt good.

Posted: Jul 23, 2020 7:31 AM
Updated: Jul 23, 2020 3:52 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Pacers are restarting this season the same way they opened it — fielding questions about Victor Oladipo’s status.

They are hoping to have an answer by next week.


Indiana Pacers' Malcolm Brogdon drives past Milwaukee Bucks' Eric Bledsoe during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

After initially announcing he would not play in Florida because of concerns over his surgically-repaired right knee, the two-time All-Star backtracked and said he may reconsider if he could perform at a high level and he felt good.

That was good enough for coach Nate McMillan, who planned to use Oladipo in three scrimmage games.

“He’s going through the practices and he’s looking good,” McMillan said. “Right now, there are no restrictions on anyone.”

After fighting through 12 months of rehab, Oladipo returned from a ruptured quad tendon in late January.

He played in 13 games, posting his best numbers in Indiana’s final contest before the season was suspended.

Still, Oladipo knew he wasn’t himself.

He could only play one game of a back-to-back, missed another game when the knee randomly swelled and played limited minutes.

“I was on a minute restriction, that doesn’t mean I was healthy,” Oladipo said. “If I was 100% healthy, I wouldn’t have been restricted.”

Either way, it’s clear the Pacers will be cautious with Oladipo and his teammates wouldn’t want it any other way.

“A lot of people don’t come back from those injuries,” guard Malcolm Brogdon said. “He’s here every day, working hard, getting here early, staying late. It’s hard. But you also have to do what’s best for your body. He’s a veteran. He’s going to make the best decision for himself and I want him to make the best decision for himself.”

Oladipo would be a boon for a team seeking to win its first playoff series since reaching the 2014 Eastern Conference finals.

“What he brings is another strong weapon to the lineup,” McMillan said. “We know he’s very capable of scoring and creating, but he also does a great job defending.”

DEPTH UPDATE

If Oladipo plays — and returns to the starting lineup — Brogdon would continue to start at point guard.

The other minutes would be split between the increasingly productive Holiday brothers, Aaron and Justin; T.J. McConnell, a key backup; and Edmond Sumner, who says he feels as healthy as he has since entering the league in 2017.

McMillan figures he will need all of those bodies in these strange times.

“I plan to play a lot of guys, certainly 10-plus guys in those scrimmage games,” he said.

Jeremy Lamb made the trip with his teammates and is doing limited work during practices.

But he will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in February.

WHERE WE WERE

When the season stopped, the Pacers appeared poised to make a push for home-court advantage in the first round.

With Oladipo rounding into form, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard thought Indiana could make the jump from fifth in the East, possibly even as high as third.

Though the playoff format has changed, Pritchard’s hopes — and those of the Pacers — have not.

BROGDON’S BACK

Brogdon used the surprise break to get healthy — twice.

He injured a hip muscle March 4 against his former team, the Milwaukee Bucks, and was listed as week to week when the season stopped.

Then, after speaking at a racial injustice protest in Atlanta, Brogdon was diagnosed with COVID-19, which delayed his arrival in Florida.

“I had very mild symptoms, had a fever and a headache,” he said. “But I’m back to 100%.”

Brogdon also announced Tuesday he has created the Brogdon Family Foundation, an organization he wants to use to create a more equitable world.

TURN-ING IT ON

It took center Myles Turner a couple of months to adapt to playing with All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis in the starting lineup. Now he appears to be the Pacers’ biggest surprise in Orlando.

McMillan and Turner’s teammates have all raved about Turner since they’ve returned to practice.

“He’s looked as good as he’s ever looked since I’ve been here,” Brogdon said. “He’s confident and when he’s playing with confidence out there, no one is actually stopping him.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 735999

Reported Deaths: 13486
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1007151752
Lake54249977
Allen40946680
St. Joseph36335553
Hamilton35829408
Elkhart28844443
Tippecanoe22475219
Vanderburgh22367397
Porter18946311
Johnson18067381
Hendricks17317315
Clark13036192
Madison12762339
Vigo12501249
LaPorte12086215
Monroe11957172
Delaware10755187
Howard10001218
Kosciusko9466117
Hancock8373142
Bartholomew8098156
Warrick7799155
Floyd7690178
Grant7098174
Wayne7072199
Boone6745101
Morgan6611140
Dubois6166117
Marshall6111112
Cass5876105
Dearborn583178
Henry5785105
Noble565984
Jackson503773
Shelby494396
Lawrence4602120
Gibson437192
Harrison436672
DeKalb430585
Clinton428453
Montgomery425889
Whitley398739
Huntington394480
Steuben391057
Miami383968
Knox372890
Jasper372649
Putnam363760
Wabash355380
Adams342755
Ripley340770
Jefferson331881
White317754
Daviess298399
Wells292081
Decatur285992
Fayette282162
Greene280585
Posey272034
LaGrange268970
Scott267554
Clay261347
Washington242132
Randolph242081
Spencer232931
Jennings230949
Starke219354
Fountain213946
Sullivan212242
Owen203356
Jay197830
Fulton196040
Carroll190420
Orange184754
Perry184637
Rush174025
Vermillion170044
Franklin168535
Tipton163445
Parke146716
Pike135634
Blackford135132
Pulaski117445
Newton108934
Brown102641
Crawford101415
Benton99014
Martin89515
Warren82615
Switzerland7948
Union71410
Ohio57111
Unassigned0417

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1091623

Reported Deaths: 19528
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1268061406
Cuyahoga1132982134
Hamilton804211211
Montgomery518231015
Summit47606955
Lucas42618792
Butler38548585
Stark32661909
Lorain25199486
Warren24390300
Mahoning21795588
Lake20846371
Clermont19880240
Delaware18608133
Licking16488212
Fairfield16327200
Trumbull16196468
Medina15379266
Greene15143244
Clark14096299
Wood13168189
Portage12966206
Allen11740232
Richland11433199
Miami10713220
Wayne8923214
Columbiana8881229
Muskingum8831133
Pickaway8596121
Marion8561136
Tuscarawas8509245
Erie7958155
Hancock6944128
Ashtabula6904172
Ross6876156
Geauga6741148
Scioto6444102
Belmont5978168
Union575448
Lawrence5590102
Jefferson5583151
Huron5462120
Sandusky5380122
Darke5374126
Seneca5311122
Washington5228109
Athens520858
Auglaize494986
Mercer481585
Shelby470293
Knox4513110
Madison439363
Putnam4301101
Ashland426590
Fulton426469
Defiance424697
Crawford3993107
Brown397557
Logan383276
Preble381398
Clinton374163
Ottawa369081
Highland356862
Williams343475
Champaign335358
Guernsey317653
Jackson314152
Perry295950
Morrow287239
Fayette283550
Hardin271964
Henry270366
Coshocton266157
Holmes2625101
Van Wert244263
Adams240053
Pike238634
Gallia236749
Wyandot232155
Hocking216462
Carroll192448
Paulding174340
Meigs145540
Noble134137
Monroe132542
Harrison109637
Morgan108823
Vinton84915
Unassigned02
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Tuesday will be a mostly cloudy and warm day with the chance of a few afternoon thundershowers.
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