The Indiana Pacers star guard, Victor Oladipo, has returned from injury. After a year’s absence with a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee, Oladipo played his first game back against the Chicago Bulls. Oladipo’s return his huge for the Pacers as they approach the playoffs.
What we saw:
In his first game back Oladipo looked rusty. Though, this is expected after being unable to play for so long. Oladipo went 2-8 from the field and 1-7 from three-point range.
That three-pointer though, showed how important Oladipo is to this team.
Oladipo hit the deep three to force OT! 😮 pic.twitter.com/Q97SnDNmEn
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 30, 2020
The hardest part of getting back from a serious injury like Oladipo’s is the mental struggle. Knowing, as a player, that you are still as capable as before is a tough hurdle to overcome.
This shot shows that Oladipo has the mental toughness to get back to where he once was and lead this team during the playoffs. Being unafraid to take a shot like this is very important in critical situations.
Although his first game back was rusty, in time Oladipo will be back to his normal self.
Down the road:
As the season progresses and Oladipo gets his minutes increased, the Pacers have set this team up for success.
Oladipo will pair up with newcomer Malcolm Brogdon which instantly makes the Pacers have one of the most deadly backcourts in the league.
In addition, Domantas Sabonis is having a career year after boosting his stats for consecutive years. Sabonis is a double-double machine this year, averaging 18 points and 12.8 rebounds a game. Combine that with Myles Turner down low, and all around, this Pacers team is scary.
Even now this Pacers team seems to fly under the radar, sitting comfortably in a playoff spot it would not be crazy to see this team make some sort of run. Oladipo’s return only ups the chance of a run as well.
If Oladipo and the rest of the Pacers team stay healthy don’t be surprised to see them in the Eastern Conference final. Especially if they move up to the second or third seed.
The key for the Pacers though, is Oladipo, if he stays healthy. He has never played a full NBA season, thankfully though he should be at full strength when the Pacers enter the playoffs. If he is to stay healthy Oladipo provides a spark that the team rallies around. He is the one that makes the big plays, the go-to guy, and the hometown hero all in one. That is incredibly rare for a player today.