Victor Oladipo hasn’t played in an NBA game in nearly a year, and with his return looming, the Indiana Pacers star said he is prepared to go all out once he finally hits the court.
Sitting down for a recent interview with Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Oladipo laid out how he envisions his long-awaited return to NBA play.
Sitdown with Pacers star Victor Oladipo (@VicOladipo): Mother “challenged me right then and there to come back better” — full-throttle return on Jan. 29 — blessings of life slowing down after injury — obsession to win an NBA title. pic.twitter.com/2qbYcKlx2a— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 15, 2020
“I’m not gonna ease my way into anything,” Oladipo told Charania. “I’m not gonna second-guess myself or try to take my time. I’m gonna go full throttle and I’m gonna be aggressive. I’m gonna go at dudes and I’m not gonna shy away from anything because that’s not who I am.”
Oladipo has been sidelined since January 2019 due to a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee. The star’s return has been penciled in for Jan. 29, so he won’t join the Pacers on the team’s upcoming road trip.
Oladipo’s eagerness notwithstanding, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan recently indicated that deliberations on how to ease the star back into playing shape are ongoing.
Further, it has not yet been decided whether Oladipo will start or come off the bench early on. That said, the Pacers won’t be able to make any ultimate determinations about how to use Oladipo until he takes part in a game.
“He has to play,” McMillan said, per Nathan Brown of the Indianapolis Star. “All of that will happen once he takes the floor and gets some games under his belt. There’s no way of getting into game-shape without him playing in some games.”
The Pacers have performed extremely well in Oladipo’s absence this season. Currently sitting at 25-15 and slotted fifth in the Eastern Conference, Oladipo’s return obviously will only make the Pacers a more formidable foe down the stretch and into the postseason. What’s more, it’s clear the long layoff has Oladipo eager to reassert himself on the NBA stage.