Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo has suffered a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee and will need season-ending surgery, the team announced today.
Oladipo was injured during the second quarter of Wednesday's game as he was racing back to defend a transition break. He collapsed as he closed on Raptors forward Pascal Siakam.
"I didn't see what happened," Siakam said Wednesday night. "Watching the replay, he stuck his leg while he was falling. That's when he hit me. It's just an unfortunate situation. It's really scary, it's tough."
The severity was evident almost immediately as trainers draped a towel over the leg and players from both teams surrounded Oladipo while he was down. No replays were shown on the video screen that stretches from free-throw line to free-throw line, and fans began chanting Oladipo's name. (The Pacers eventually won the game, 110-106.)
Coach Nate McMillan said he was unsure when Oladipo would have surgery or whether he would be ready for the start of next season.
"It's unfortunate. He's a special player and a special person," McMillan said Thursday. "It will be tough but we have to continue to move on."
Concerned reactions -- from the hometown fans, players on the court and those watching from afar -- quickly began pouring in. The sixth-year guard eventually left the court on a stretcher, raising his arms to acknowledge the crowd. Former Pacers star Paul George, who suffered a catastrophic leg injury while training with Team USA in 2014, chimed in with a show of support via Twitter.
"We kind of knew last night [about Oladipo's injury]," McMillan said. "But we got the word this morning."
McMillan said Tyreke Evans will replace Oladipo in the starting lineup and first-round draft pick Aaron Holiday will get more playing time off the bench. In addition, the Pacers intend to promote Edmond Sumner from the NBA G League to the playing roster.
They could still make a move before the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
"We will talk about that," McMillan said. "We will talk about where we go from here."
This season, Oladipo was averaging 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.7 steals in 31.9 minutes. He ranks third in the NBA this season in clutch points with 5.1 ppg, was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for Week 3 (Oct. 29-Nov. 4) and was an All-Star last season. Entering last night's game, he had led the team in scoring 17 times this season -- the most on the Pacers.
Losing Oladipo is an enormous blow to the Pacers' postseason hopes. Indiana currently holds the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference but the Pacers face a more challenging second half of the season.
They surprised the league last year when many projected them to be a lottery team after trading George to Oklahoma City for Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Instead, the Pacers made the playoffs as one of the season's biggest surprises.
Oladipo's teammates are convinced they can do it again.
"The season's not over," Collison said a few minutes after players were told the extent of Oladipo's injury. "They don't know our mindset in the locker room. They don't know what we have."
Indiana went 7-4 when Oladipo missed 11 games earlier this season with a sore right knee. McMillan said he had not been told whether the previous knee problem had any relationship to the new injury.
"I haven't talked to the trainers about it, but he wasn't complaining before last night," McMillan said, though Oladipo appeared to be favoring the knee as recently as last week.
"We've got to come together and play inspired basketball," said Myles Turner, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds last night. "We can't let this get us stuck in the mud. It's emotional, but we have to overcome it and play."
Each of Oladipo's former teams, the Oklahoma City Thunder (who traded Oladipo in the 2017 deal for George) and the Orlando Magic (who drafted him No. 2 overall in 2013), expressed messages of support:
🙏 Wishing @vicoladipo the very best.— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 24, 2019
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.