After two weeks in the NBA bubble in Orlando, the Pacers will take the court for their first scrimmage on Thursday afternoon, taking on the Portland Trail Blazers in a 40-minute exhibition contest. It will be the first time the Blue & Gold have taken on another NBA team since March 10, when the Pacers hosted the Boston Celtics at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in their final game before the NBA season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're just excited to play a different team," Pacers forward Doug McDermott said. "It's been a while, we're kind of sick of guarding each other."
Since arriving in Orlando on July 9 and participating in a 48-hour quarantine, the Pacers have held what essentially amounts to another training camp. To a man, Pacers players and coaches have expressed their pleasure with how well-conditioned everyone has appeared despite the four-month layoff.
Still, a few players have developed minor soft tissue injuries that could impact Nate McMillan's rotations for Thursday's scrimmage. All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis is unlikely to play Thursday due to plantar fasciitis. Starting center Myles Turner has missed a couple days of practice with a knee bruise and fellow big men Goga Bitadze and JaKarr Sampson have also dealt with soft tissue injuries. Starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon has been practicing with the team in Orlando after testing positive for COVID-19 in Indianapolis, but there are questions about his conditioning.
One player absent from the injury report is Victor Oladipo. The two-time All-Star initially planned to sit out the season restart, but after traveling to Orlando and feeling good in practice, Oladipo is now reconsidering his decision. McMillan said he thinks Oladipo will play in Thursday's scrimmage as he continues to weigh his decision, which is based largely on the short- and long-term health of his surgically repaired knee.
Thursday's scrimmage will be streamed live on Pacers.com and in the Pacers mobile app for fans within a 75-mile radius of Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Nationally, fans can also catch the game on NBA TV. Both Pacers.com and NBA TV will also carry the upcoming scrimmages against Dallas on Sunday and San Antonio on Tuesday.
Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »
TV: Pacers.com, Pacers mobile app - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst)
NBA TV - Broadcasters TBD