Oladipo Happy to Return to Practice

October 19, 2019 - Pacers guard Victor Oladipo talked about returning to five-on-five play during practice and how he is remaining patient during his rehabilitation.

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Oladipo Happy to Return to Practice

October 19, 2019 - Pacers guard Victor Oladipo talked about returning to five-on-five play during practice and how he is remaining patient during his rehabilitation.
Oct 19, 2019  |  02:41

Oladipo's Rehab Advances, But He Remains Patient

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer

Patience is not a problem. Victor Oladipo acquired that virtue on shopping trips back in the day, free of charge, and never returned it. That's a good thing, now that he needs it more than ever.

"I'm one of the most patient people you can meet, ever," he was saying Saturday. "It's a gift and curse. But at the end of the day I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Just have to be patient and calm."

Oladipo was upbeat and calm after ramping up his participation during the Pacers' practice session at St. Vincent Center. Having been relegated to non-contact drills since the beginning of training camp, he was given the go-ahead to jump into controlled halfcourt scrimmages for the first time. That marked a major step forward in the rehabilitation process related to the torn quadricep muscle he suffered in a game against Toronto on Jan. 23.

Oladipo's return to game action remains uncertain, but he was his usual upbeat self while talking with reporters for the first time since Media Day, the day before camp began. He grabbed a microphone for a television reporter and pretended to interview coach Nate McMillan and was in full "positive butterfly" mode when taking his turn.

"I hadn't played in 9 1/2 months," he said, chuckling at the thought. "It felt good just being out there. Making a pass, shooting a jumper...shooting a floater, a layup...something. It feels good to be out there. Feels like I never left, honestly."

Oladipo won't participate in scrimmages on consecutive days of practice but will travel with the team on longer road trips, such as the three-game set that follows their season-opener next Wednesday, to work with Pacers trainers. He'll continue to watch the games in street clothes, however.

"My fanny pack game is really going to be strong," he said. "A new fanny pack for every game. Everybody check them out and tell me what your favorite fanny pack is."

McMillan offered no analysis of Oladipo's play on Saturday other than to say he "looked good," and said doctors are not offering a timetable for a return.

"You never know," McMillan said. "I know he's working hard to get himself back. I've been watching him all summer long and I've never seen anyone attack the rehab as hard as he has. He's working extremely hard every day to get back better than he was."

And that's what Oladipo insists he'll be when he resumes his career, despite the severity of his injury. Asked if he expects to be able to resume the level of play that made him an All-Star two seasons ago, he quickly objected.

"Oh, no. I'm going to be better than that," He said. "Simple as that. I practice what I preach. I'm going to be better than the old Vic. Like I told you on Media Day, I can show you better than I can tell you.

"I'm at a point now I believe everything happens for a reason. I'm trying to embrace the moments that I have now. Embrace every day. I feel like I've gotten better in a lot of attributes, not only my life as a man but my game as well. I've worked on things I normally don't get to work on. I'm looking forward to showcasing those eventually."

But he's not rushing it.

"I'm taking my sweet time," he said. "As slow as possible. Feeling good, though."

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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