Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo says there is a ‘possibility’ he could now play in restart

After previously saying he would sit out of the NBA restart, Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo has reversed course somewhat, opening the door to the possibility of playing.

“My body is feeling good,” Oladipo told reporters on Wednesday after practice.

“It was hard for me to assess where I was at from the long layover [due to coronavirus pandemic] and obviously, couldn’t really control that. But now you know, coming down here and getting some practices in, getting my feet under me, going out there and playing with the guys, there’s a possibility that I could play. I am just reassessing myself and my body every day.”

Oladipo added that if he continues to hold up well in workouts, the possibility he would play is “strong”.

Victor Oladipo, 28, initially said he wouldn’t play in the NBA’s restart at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex near Orlando, citing fear of injury after a long layoff.

He played in just 13 games before the season was interrupted by the pandemic in March, missing the first 47 games due to a torn right quad tendon sustained in January 2019.

Head coach Nate McMillan told reporters the team was “approaching it as if he’s not playing.”

But The Athletic reported Monday that there was “growing belief” Oladipo would attempt to play after “multiple strong team practices”.

On Tuesday, reports emerged that the NBA and the players union disagree whether Oladipo would still earn $3m in remaining salary if he opted out of the resumed season. Players with approved medical exemptions receive full pay, but healthy players who opt out forfeit their remaining salary.

Victor Oladipo returned from his injury on January 29. He averaged 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 0.8 steals in 13 games (10 starts), averaging 25.9 minutes per game.

During back-to-back All-Star campaigns in 2017-18 and 2018-19, he averaged 21.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.1 steals in 33.3 minutes.

In seven NBA seasons, Oladipo has career averages of 17.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.7 steals. He also has played for the Orlando Magic (2013-16) and Oklahoma City Thunder (2016-17).

The Pacers (39-26) are tied with Philadelphia for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. They are slated to resume the season against the 76ers on August 1.

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