By Alex Kennedy
Victor Oladipo hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since April 8, 2021.
Last season, he had season-ending surgery to repair a ruptured quad after playing just four games with the Miami Heat (who acquired him prior to the NBA trade deadline).
After spending the last 10 months rehabbing his knee, he’s taking a major step in his recovery: Oladipo is joining the Heat’s G League affiliate (the Sioux Falls Skyforce) for 5-on-5 work, the team announced on Tuesday night.
UPDATE: Victor Oladipo will be joining the @SFSkyforce for 5-on-5 work as a part of his recovery from knee surgery.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 16, 2022
It remains to be seen when Oladipo will be able to return to Miami’s lineup, but this news suggests that he’s getting closer. Getting a healthy Oladipo back in their rotation could be a huge addition for the Heat. After all, he was an All-NBA Third Team selection just three years ago.
With that said, he looked like a shell of his former self last season. While he struggled with his explosiveness and efficiency, it’s worth noting that Oladipo still averaged 20.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.6 threes and 1.3 steals in 29 total games with the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers last year.
Over the course of his eight-year NBA career, Oladipo has averaged 17.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.6 threes and 1.6 steals on .438/.347/.791 shooting splits. He is a two-time All-Star, and he won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2018 (while also leading the NBA in steals and earning a spot on the NBA All-Defensive First Team).
Last March, Miami dealt Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and a 2022 first-round pick swap to the Rockets in exchange for Oladipo.
Now, at 37-21, the Heat have the best record in the Eastern Conference, while boasting the NBA’s fifth-best offense (scoring 110.6 points per 100 possessions) and sixth-best defense (allowing 105.2 points per 100 possessions). They won’t rush Oladipo back or ask him to do too much once he does return.
Oladipo signed a one-year, veteran-minimum deal with the Heat last offseason — a low-risk, high-reward move for Miami. But since the 29-year-old is on a prove-it deal, he’s certainly hoping to prove that he still has plenty left in the tank before hitting free agency again this summer.
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