The Indiana Pacers announced on Friday that Victor Oladipo’s sore right knee will keep him out of the lineup indefinitely, an abrupt shift in terminology after previously being listed as day-to-day.
Oladipo played some 4-on-4 at Thursday’s shootaround, and the door appeared to be left open for him to participate at today’s full practice.
“We will have a live practice on Friday,” McMillan said while providing an update on Oladipo’s progress. “Hopefully he will be able to participate in that.”
“That’s not a guarantee,” he added.
It’s obvious things did not go as the team had hoped, but no details were provided beyond the standard “further updates will be provided when warranted.”
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there are “no structural issues with the knee” and the indefinite timeline is a product of Oladipo still needing to “work himself into game shape,” something which the first-time All-Star made clear yesterday was a prerequisite for his return to action.
“I gotta be at 100 percent,” Oladipo said. “The way I play, as hard as I play at both ends, I got to be at 100 percent in order to play at that level to help my team.”
“So, I’ve got to make sure I’m good.”
After going 0-8 in games without the team’s leading scorer last season, the Pacers have posted a 3-3 record over the last six games in which Oladipo has been sidelined.
All three wins have come against teams with losing records, but all five of Indiana’s next five opponents also have losing records.
- Saturday, December 1 @ Sacramento Kings (10-11)
- Tuesday, December 4 vs. Chicago Bulls (5-17)
- Friday, December 7 @ Orlando Magic (10-12)
- Saturday, December 8 vs. Sacramento Kings (10-11)
- Monday, December 10 vs. Washington Wizards (8-13)
On the brighter side, if there even is such a thing, the extended downtime will continue to present a few of the team’s periphery pieces (**coughs** Darren Collison and Tyreke Evans) with an opportunity to find some semblance of a rhythm so that maybe, just maybe, Oladipo can receive more consistent help once he’s back in the lineup.
Tellingly, Oladipo’s usage percentage in the 16 games in which he has played has been higher than any full season that Paul George suited up for the Pacers, including 2016-17 when seven of the two-way star’s teammates were players who are no longer in the NBA.
Doug McDermott, in particular, has benefited recently from increased involvement, averaging 17.3 points while knocking down 9-of-13 threes over the last three games.
Oladipo being out also likely means more run for Aaron Holiday, which could eventually complicate matters for Nate McMillan as it pertains to divvying up minutes for a crowded backcourt while still finding opportunities for T.J. Leaf.