The Pacers expect to begin phase two of the three phase season Kevin Pritchard envisioned whenever he discussed Victor Oladipo’s return from injury.
The first phase of the season, incorporating new players and developing an identity without Vic, exceeded all expectations despite ending with a loss in Portland on Sunday. The Pacers sit in at 30-17, on pace for a 52-win season and in a tight playoff race with four other teams for spots 2-6 in the Eastern Conference.
After a day off on Monday, the Pacers will practice today with Victor Oladipo involved in preparations for the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. The team’s injury report still has Malcolm Brogdon (concussion) as questionable and Oladipo as out, but that is expected to change by tip time tomorrow.
The second phase Pritchard outlined now focuses on adding Vic to the mix and managing his minutes as he hopefully builds up his NBA game to resemble his former, feathery self on the court. The final phase has the Pacers running closer to full steam with a team that is primed and ready for the playoffs.
Phase three can’t happen without phase two and all of the variables that have to go well. Fortunately, and remarkably, there have been no reported set backs in Vic’s rehab work with the team and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants over the past few months. He’s always there.
Now it’s time to see how Vic looks in an actual game, a game that has great meaning, as they all do now considering the context of the playoff race.
When will Victor Oladipo return?
With high hopes and measured expectations, we are one day away from officially answering that question.
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