The Indiana Pacers announced on Friday afternoon that All-Star guard Victor Oladipo has been ruled out indefinitely “as he continues to deal with a sore right knee,” marking a potentially season-altering blow to a team that is currently battling for a home playoff seed in the Eastern Conference standings.
Oladipo left five minutes into Indiana’s Nov. 17 game against the Atlanta Hawks complaining of right knee soreness. The 26-year-old has not returned to action since, and the Pacers are 3-3 in his absence.
The NBA’s Most Improved Player last season, Oladipo transformed himself physically in 2017, following his second trade in as many summers, and he emerged as one of the game’s most dominant forces last season — an All-NBA talent relentless on both sides of the ball who led the Pacers within a victory of knocking off LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.
Oladipo was averaging 22.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.2 combined blocks and steals per game before exiting against the Hawks two weeks ago. The Pacers followed last year’s playoff run with a promising 10-6 start to this season with Oladipo at his helm, but have fallen to fifth place in the East without him. Despite a relatively light schedule for the next handful of games, the Pacers will have serious trouble remaining competitive without their lone All-Star for any significant amount of time.
Oladipo bruised his right knee in November 2017. He returned after a one-game absence, but sat for another four games in late December with soreness in the same knee. The hope that this latest right knee soreness might similarly subside took a hit with Friday’s news that his return date is unknown.
– – – – – – –
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Curry writes perfect response to little girl’s letter
• Redskins VP: Foster’s allegations are ‘small potatoes’
• Hall of Famer says he’s ‘with’ Kaepernick, takes jab at Trump
• Why Bucs’ plan to give away tickets might be brilliant