Indiana star guard Victor Oladipo was in the starting lineup as the Pacers took on the Portland Trail Blazers in their first scrimmage game of the 2019-20 restart on Thursday. Oladipo finished with eight points and six rebounds on 3-for-10 shooting in 19 minutes as Indiana won, 91-88.
The status of the two-time All-Star swingman had been in doubt for the restart after he initially ruled himself out of the mix back on July 3. Less than two weeks later, Oladipo told reporters he may end up playing in the restart and Thursday’s starting nod seemed to be a step in that direction.
After the win against Portland, Oladipo said he still has yet to make a decision on whether or not to play once the NBA season restart’s seeding games begin on July 30.
“We’ll see,” he said. “I’ll be reassessing after every game. Nothing definite. We’ll see how my body responds after today. Hopefully I’m able to play on Sunday.
“I’m just trying to find the flow and get my rhythm back. That will come. Overall, I’m reassessing my body and knee after every game and will go from there. Not look too far ahead. Today was really big just to make sure we get our conditioning up. It was just fun to be out there and compete. I felt pretty good.”
Oladipo, who returned from a ruptured quadriceps tendon injury earlier this season, originally said he wanted to continue focusing on his rehab when he ruled himself out. He played in 13 games before the coronavirus forced a stoppage in play on March 11. He was working his way into shape after returning from injury and even scored a season-high 27 points on the eve of the season’s suspension.
The Pacers will enter the restart as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, with their first seeding game coming against the No. 6 seed Philadelphia 76ers on Aug. 1.