Another NBA star is opting out of the bubble.
Pacers guard Victor Oladipo won’t play when the league resumes its season in Orlando, not because he is high-risk for the coronavirus but because he is high-risk to re-injury nearly 18 months removed from a ruptured quadriceps tendon.
“I really want to play, and as a competitor and teammate this is tearing me apart,” Oladipo told The Athletic, which broke the news of his opt-out. “I feel like I’m at a great place in my rehab and getting closer and closer to 100 percent. With all the variables, from how I have to build my five-on-five workload back up, to the increased risk of a soft-tissue injury which could delay my rehab, and the unknown exact setup of the bubble, I just can’t get my mind to being fully comfortable in playing. I have to be smart and this decision hasn’t been easy, but I truly believe continuing on the course I’m on and getting fully healthy for the 2020-21 season is the right decision for me.”
A year and a day after undergoing surgery to repair his quad, Oladipo had made his return to the Pacers on Jan. 29 and played in 13 games before COVID-19 suspended the season on March 11. The Pacers were conservative with his return and he had yet to play any back-to-backs. In his last game before the shutdown, he scored 27 points against the Celtics
The 28-year-old, who is under contract through 2021, will be focusing on his health as the Pacers, who currently own the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, begin games on July 30.
“Vic looks great and feels great and is in the best shape he’s ever been in,” Oladipo’s physical therapist, Luke Miller, told The Athletic. “He hasn’t had a setback at all. Now it’s about him taking everything into account, close this 2019-20 chapter and focus on 2020-21, which I believe will be a big one. He’s extremely close to the old VO, but he’s not there yet and he knows the work to get back there.”
Oladipo joins a list of players that includes Avery Bradley, DeAndre Jordan, Davis Bertans, Wilson Chandler, Trevor Ariza and Willie Cauley-Stein who will be sitting out the NBA’s restart.