Pacers star Oladipo opting out of NBA return in Orlando

Sam Amico

Indiana Pacers star guard Victor Oladipo has opted out of the NBA's return to the season, he told Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Oladipo cited concerns with his healing knee, which is still not fully healed despite his playing in 13 games before the season was suspended.

"As a competitor and teammate this is tearing me apart … but I truly believe continuing on the course I’m on and getting fully healthy for the 2020-21 season is the right decision for me," he told Charania.

Oladipo told reporters earlier in the week he had his doubts about returning.

"Just taking it one day at a time," he said. "I feel like when the day comes, I'll know."

Twenty-two teams are scheduled to resume the season July 30 at Walt Disney World Resort. The Pacers (39-26) are tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, two games back of the Miami Heat.

As usual, the Pacers' position is a real testament to coach Nate McMillan, whose teams have always played hard and smart, and generally overachieved. Few expected the Pacers to be where they were when the NBA suspended the season.

Worse for opponents, McMillan's teams are generally at their best when it means the most. In the playoffs, the Pacers are always a "tough out," as the saying goes.

Oladipo averaged 13.8 points in a mere 13 appearances before the break ... but he showed flashes of his old self by erupting for 27 points in 29 minutes against Boston on March 10. That just happened to be the Pacers' last game.

It also was nearly four months ago -- and like all NBA players, Oladipo has been limited in what he can do in terms of workouts.

"It takes time for your body to heal,” he said. “We’ve had an extensive period of time off and to go back and ramp things up again, I’m susceptible to injury more so than anyone else, seeing as how I was already injured beforehand and I wasn’t 100 percent when I came back to begin with.”

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