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Pacers' Oladipo opts out of NBA restart

By Matt Kelley
Victor Oladipo

Orlando, July 4: Star guard Victor Oladipo has chosen not to join the Indiana Pacers for the restart of the 2019-20 NBA season in Orlando, Florida, saying that he would not be comfortable playing.

Oladipo announced his decision on Friday in an article with The Athletic.

The two-time All-Star – who has played just 13 games this season after taking the floor only 36 times in 2018-19 – cited his lengthy injury history when explaining why he has opted out of the rest of the season.

"I feel like I'm at a great place in my rehab and getting closer and closer to 100 percent," Oladipo said.

"With all the variables, from how I have to build my 5-on-5 workload back up, to the increased risk of a soft tissue injury which could delay my rehab, and the unknown exact set up of the bubble, I just can't get my mind to being fully comfortable in playing."

The Pacers are fifth in the Eastern Conference at 39-26 this season as they prepare for the NBA's 22-team plan to finish the 2019-20 season in Orlando starting on July 30.

The first of Indiana's eight seeding games is on August 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The team is also without guard Jeremy Lamb, who tore the ACL in his left knee in February.

"I really want to play, and as a competitor and team-mate this is tearing me apart," Oladipo said.

"I have to be smart and this decision hasn't been easy, but I truly believe continuing the course I'm on and getting fully healthy for the 2020-21 season is the right decision for me."

The second overall pick in the 2013 draft, Oladipo's best season was his first with the Pacers, averaging 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals over 75 games in 2017-18.

It looked as if Oladipo had finally blossomed into a player worthy of his draft slot but rupturing tendons in his quadriceps twice has prevented the 28-year-old from making consistent contributions over the last two seasons.

Oladipo joins a growing list of players who have opted out of the restart, including Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans, Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley and Portland Trail Blazers forward Trevor Ariza.

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Story first published: Saturday, July 4, 2020, 3:10 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 4, 2020
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