Uber-Positive Victor Oladipo Talks Knee Injury Rehab
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INDIANAPOLIS – A positive butterfly.
That is how Victor Oladipo describes himself.
Well, Pacers fans can’t wait to see their star flapping his wings again around Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
When that exactly will happen remains to be seen.
Oladipo, nor the Pacers, are ready to (publicly) throw out dates on the calendar for major rehab checkpoints.
“I don’t have a specific schedule,” Oladipo said on Monday, speaking to the media for the first time since his season-ending knee injury suffered back on January 23. “I just take it one day at a time and everything else will take care of itself. I’m really not looking too forward to the future. I’m not looking at the past. I’m just taking it one day at a time and staying in the present. I’m focused on today. They haven’t really given me a timetable, just taking it one day at a time.
“I’ve embraced that this is going to be a process and I’m going to learn a lot during this time and I’m going to grow a lot during this time and I look forward to that growth.”
Current rehab for Oladipo has him down in Miami, where he had surgery two weeks ago, and moving a bit slower than normal on crutches.
The surgery got the “unnecessary things out of (his) knee,” according to Oladipo.
“I’m looking forward to seeing my knee be stronger than it ever was,” the 26-year-old guard says. It’s just a blessing that I can still do something related to the game even though I’m not able to play. I still watch games, still watch other people’s games, still study games. I still have time to do form shooting. I’m very confident that I’ll be able to come back better than ever. Just taking it one day at a time and trying to heal the best I can.”
Oladipo did admit on Monday that the knee soreness which kept him out of the lineup for 11 games back in November/December was just above the knee, in the quad area, which is the tendon he ruptured on Jan. 23.
Despite the similar area for both injuries, Oladipo isn’t sure if there’s a direct correlation between the season-ending injury.
“Who knows?” Oladipo says when asked if the two injuries were related.
“I could sit here and say it’s related, but I don’t really know. I could say it’s not related, but I wouldn’t really know that either. It might be connected in some way, but who knows. Like I said, I’m not too focused on the past because I have control over that, just like I have no control over the future.”
Daily routines for Oladipo right now includes physical therapy, shooting set shots while sitting in a chair, reading and plenty of film evaluation.
This injury and rehab are so unique that it’s hard to compare Oladipo’s potential rehab to another case. Veteran point guard Tony Parker did endure something similar back in 2017. Oladipo said he is hoping to reach out to Parker around the All-Star break.
A week and a half ago, Oladipo saw his Pacers teammates before their game in Miami.
At the time, the Pacers had lost 4 straight since Oladipo’s gruesome injury.
Since, after talking with the positive butterfly, they’ve won 5 straight.
“Ever since then, they’ve been nothing short of amazing,” Oladipo says of the Pacers, who currently sit at 36-19. “They just have to keep getting better. This team is very capable of doing special things, even without me. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do.”
“For me, I think they just needed to hear my voice and let them know that I’m good. It almost felt like, I was letting them down a little bit. But to be able to see them and talk to them, it was good just to be able to tell them we are right where we want to be. At the end of the day, they just need some reminders that we are at our best when nobody believes us. That’s how it’s always been. I just reminded them of how good they’ve been. Everyone was overreacting, but they didn’t need to do. Now, they are good, man. At the end of the day, they are capable of doing special things, even when I’m not there. I just watch from afar and help in any way I can, like I did when they came out here in Miami or me texting them and showing them what I see.”
On Monday, Oladipo recalled the emotions he was feeling when he went down late in the first half against the Raptors.
“When I looked at my knee, I could tell something was wrong obviously, that’s why I pulled my knee pad away so I could see what was wrong,” Oladipo says.
“It was more so disappointment, because I knew I had to get carted off. I knew I couldn’t walk. I was just waiting there, seeing everybody standing up and looking in disbelief and worry. Luckily, my mother was there. It was good that she was there and could take care of me during the process and during this time. Even though it was a tough moment for me, one of the toughest people I know in this world was there, so she was kind of able to help me get through that tough time. Now, I’m just optimistic and looking forward to the future.”
The immediate future for Oladipo has him still pretty restricted in his movement.
But in the next week or so the expectation is for Oladipo to return to the state of Indiana to continue his rehab and get a first-hand look at his teammates make a playoff push with their star in attendance.
“I plan on coming back and definitely coming to some games and supporting when I’m able to,” Oladipo says. “I’m looking forward to that, too, being back in the arena, seeing some fans, and my teammates and my coaching staff and everybody that works for the Pacers for sure.
“I miss them.”