The Indiana Pacers are 6-4 and have managed to stay afloat without the versatility and dynamic scoring of their star guard Victor Oladipo's. It was announced in September that Oladipo was not expected back anytime soon after suffering a season-ending knee injury in January that forced him to miss Indiana's final 35 games of the 2018-19 season, including the playoffs.
We're about 10 months into the rehab and it appears as if Oladipo may be further along than anticipated. Oladipo was assigned to the Pacers' G League affiliate in Fort Wayne on Tuesday where he'll practice with the team and then rejoin the Pacers to continue his rehab. This gives Oladipo the chance to get some practice run on a night where the Pacers have a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The two-time All-Star had the Pacers playing at a high level before suffering his injury. The team was 13 games over .500 and he was averaging a career-high in assists (5.2) and rebounds (5.6) at the time of the injury. Oladipo, one of the players received from the Paul George trade with the Thunder, blossomed into a franchise cornerstone for Indiana. His performance against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 postseason, where he pushed the Cavaliers to seven games, helped put him on the map as a legitimate force. And he continued to build upon that until he got injured while getting back on defense during a fast break against the Toronto Raptors.
The Pacers signed Malcolm Brogdon in the offseason to fill Oladipo's shoes as the starting point guard, and he's been putting up career numbers so far. When Oladipo does make his return, pairing him with Brogdon in the backcourt will give Indiana one of the most exciting young guard tandems in the league. Add the fact that Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis are locked up to long-term deals, Indiana could develop into a serious title contender in the Eastern Conference.