The Indiana Pacers made official on Thursday what many feared Wednesday night: All-Star guard Victor Oladipo will require season-ending surgery after suffering a non-contact right knee injury.
Oladipo was carried out on a stretcher after injuring the knee on an awkward fall against the Toronto Raptors. The Pacers immediately feared a season-ending injury, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and news came down on Thursday afternoon that Oladipo had ruptured the quad tendon in his right knee.
The fall came when Oladipo tried to disrupt an outlet pass to Pascal Siakam in transition during the second quarter. When Oladipo couldn’t get up, his Pacers teammates immediately called for an athletic trainer, who covered Oladipo’s leg with a towel. Eventually, Oladipo exited on a stretcher while acknowledging an ovation from the Indiana crowd.
Following the game, the Pacers said Oladipo had suffered a “serious injury” to his knee and would undergo an MRI on Thursday for a full diagnosis. That diagnosis did not return encouraging results.
Oladipo entered Wednesday leading the Pacers in scoring with 19.2 points per game, while also contributing 5.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. He is a devastating loss for the Pacers, who currently hold the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers managed to pull out 110-106 win over the East-leading Raptors on Wednesday, thanks to a 23-point, 15-rebound night from Thaddeus Young and five other players who scored in double digits.
As Wojnarowski noted, the list of players who suffered the same injury includes Charles Barkley and Tony Parker. Parker suffered the injury during the 2017 playoffs at age 35. The former All-Star returned to a more limited role in late November of the following season, almost seven months later.
Oladipo missed 11 games earlier this season with what the Pacers termed a sore right knee. Upon returning in mid-December, he averaged 32.6 minutes per game before suffering Wednesday’s injury.
The news is especially devastating for Oladipo, who transformed his working regimen in the summer of 2017 to emerge as the NBA’s Most Improved Player and a Third Team All-NBA performer last season. The 26-year-old now must face an arduous rehabilitation process to prove himself once again.
NBA players tweet support for Victor Oladipo
Several NBA players were quick to tweet their support for Oladipo. That included former Pacers star Paul George, who has his own experience with scary leg injuries.
Prayers up VO 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
— Paul George (@Yg_Trece) January 24, 2019
Prayers up Vic !! 🙏🏽
— Bradley Beal (@RealDealBeal23) January 24, 2019
Hope it’s not a serious injury to Vic and a speedy recovery.
— Trevor Booker (@35_Fitz) January 24, 2019
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