The under-manned Indiana Pacers are back in action tonight, but prior to tip-off, the biggest injury update coming from Nate McMillan was about Victor Oladipo playing “a little full-court,” something the two-time All-Star hasn’t done since January of last season.
Earlier in the day, the Pacers announced that Oladipo had been assigned to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for the afternoon to practice with the team while in Indianapolis. Given that today is a game day, the benefit to getting in full-court reps versus the team’s G League affiliate is that no extra exertion was required of Indiana’s 10-man skeleton crew while still in the absence of, Edmond Sumner (right hand fracture), Goga Bitadze (concussion), Jeremy Lamb (sprained left ankle), and Myles Turner (sprained right ankle).
While speaking with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on The Woj Pod, Kevin Pritchard spoke to the challenges of pushing through the final stages of rehab, with regard to Oladipo.
“You get to 90% of recovery and everybody says, ‘Oh, he’s at 90%, he just needs a little more time,’ “ Pritchard said. “The last 10% is the hardest.”
Up until now, Oladipo had only been participating in 5-on-5 half-court situations, so the fact that he’s ready to assess how his knee responds to playing basketball 94-feet is a critical, yet nonetheless encouraging, next step, even if only for the reason of rebuilding his confidence in his right leg.
That said, assuming his knee continues to feel like it should without any setbacks, he’ll still have plenty of hurdles to clear before he’s ready to play in an actual game — from returning to live-action in sustained practices with his teammates to regaining his rhythm and getting his wind back.
As such, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, there is understandably “no return timetable.”