Victor Oladipo Discusses Planned Season Debut

Jan. 8, 2020 - Pacers All-Star guard Victor Oladipo holds a press conference to discuss his announcement that he plans to make his season debut against the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 29.

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Victor Oladipo Discusses Planned Season Debut

Jan. 8, 2020 - Pacers All-Star guard Victor Oladipo holds a press conference to discuss his announcement that he plans to make his season debut against the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 29.
Jan 8, 2020  |  11:32

McMillan: Pacers "Excited" for Oladipo's Targeted Debut Date

Jan. 8, 2020 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan reacts to Victor Oladipo's announcement that he intends to make his season debut on Jan. 29 against the Chicago Bulls at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Jan 8, 2020  |  01:56

Oladipo Talks Return Date

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

A tentative date of Jan. 29 has been established, but lingering questions remain regarding Victor Oladipo's return to game action with the Pacers.

Will he jump into the starting lineup or come off the bench?

Will there be a playing time restriction?

Does he expect to be close to 100 percent physically?

Will he stay with the team until his return date or will he spend more time with the Mad Ants?

Oladipo was unable to offer answers to those kind of details in a press conference at Bankers Life Fieldhouse half an hour before Wednesday's game against Miami. They will be determined later by the Pacers' training staff, his medical experts, the coaches, and himself.

TICKETS: Secure Your Seats for Oladipo's Season Debut on Jan. 29 »

For now, he's just happy the end of his rehabilitation process is in sight. He last played in a game on Jan. 23 of last season against Toronto, when he tore his right quadriceps muscle while trying to intercept a floor-length pass.

"I just felt waiting this time length was good for me and my body," he said.

"It's something to look forward to. But, again, nothing is definite, nothing is promised. Things have been going great so far, knock on wood."

Oladipo has practiced for several weeks with the Pacers and their G League affiliate in Fort Wayne to prepare for his comeback. He said he is unsure of the process between now and the 29th. The Pacers have a five-game Western Conference road trip between Jan. 19 and the 26th, and he said it will be determined later whether he accompanies the team or not.

The Pacers entered Wednesday's game with a 23-14 record, sixth in the Eastern Conference but one game out of fourth. Getting back their only player to have been named to an All-Star Game only figures to help, once he knocks off the rust of a year-long layoff and gets acclimated to his fellow starters, only one of whom started with the Pacers last season.

"It's an amazing team we have right now," Oladipo said. "I'm looking forward to joining them and helping us go to an even higher level. There are some exciting days to come, hopefully, and I'm looking forward to it.

"I'm just glad that I can put on the jersey and go out and play with those guys. It's been a crazy journey, it's been a tough journey, but it's molded me into a better person, I truly believe that."

Oladipo said his layoff has broadened his perspective.

"I learned to value myself and how much value I bring not only to myself and my immediate family but the people in this state, the value I bring to my friends and extended family and just people in general," he said. "When I'm playing, I'm playing for the norms...but I've learned it's bigger than that. I'm playing for something way bigger...for people I might not even know. The way I play...affects not only me and my family, it affects a lot of people. And I never would have understood that if I didn't get hurt."


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Mark Montieth's book on the formation and groundbreaking seasons of the Pacers, "Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis," is available in bookstores throughout Indiana and on Amazon.com.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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