Twelve days after he first announced that he’d be sitting out of the NBA’s restart this summer and two days after word broke that he may be reconsidering that decision, Pacers guard Victor Oladipo spoke to reporters on Wednesday. Asked about his status for the summer, Oladipo confirmed that there’s a “strong possibility” he’ll suit up for the Pacers if his body continues to respond well to workouts, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic relays.
“My body is feeling good,” Oladipo said after the Pacers’ practice on Wednesday. “It was hard for me to assess where I was at from the long layover and obviously corona(virus), 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.”
When Oladipo first announced that he wouldn’t be participating in the restart, he cited health concerns related to his torn quad tendon. Although the two-time All-Star returned from that injury in January, he hadn’t fully recaptured his pre-injury form by the time the season was suspended in March. He expressed reservations this month about the summer’s abridged ramp-up period and the possibility of experiencing a setback.
However, Oladipo traveled to the Walt Disney World campus with the Pacers and has been practicing without restrictions. So far, his body has responded well to those workouts and practices, leading to renewed optimism about his potential availability for the summer.
“At the end of the day, I’m trying to play,” Oladipo said today (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN). “… There’s no definite answer, but I’m trending upwards. Hopefully when the time comes to make that decision, it will be easy to make and I can let you guys know.”
If Oladipo plays this summer, he’ll receive his remaining game checks. If he sits out, the NBA and NBPA will have to resolve a dispute over his salary — as we detailed on Tuesday, the union believes Oladipo should receive his remaining salary since his absence would be health-related, but the league contends that the guard would be sitting out despite receiving medical clearance from doctors and would therefore have to forfeit his summer pay.
Asked today about that dispute, Oladipo offered no new insights, telling reporters that he’s focused on playing basketball and has “no control” over his salary situation, as Eric Woodyard of ESPN tweets.