Indiana Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo, reigning NBA Most Improved Player of the Year, suffered a season-ending injury in the second quarter of the Pacers’ Wednesday night win over the conference-leading Toronto Raptors.
The injury, which has since been confirmed to be a ruptured quad tendon, was immediately thought of as serious. The gravity of the injury was made clear by Oladipo’s instant scream in reaction to pulling back his right knee-pad and seeing his injured kneecap.
It is not yet clear exactly how the injury occurred. However, Oladipo can be seen collapsing to the floor in pursuit of a streaking Pascal Siakam.
Victor Oladipo’s season-ending knee injury has serious ramifications for the Pacers and a huge impact on their conference competitors.
The Effects of Victor Oladipo’s Season-Ending Knee Injury
Effect on the Eastern Conference
While the Pacers will struggle in the wake of the Victor Oladipo injury, the other contenders will reap the benefits. Teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics, stuck below the Pacers at fourth and fifth in the conference respectively, will have the opportunity to move up in time for the playoffs.
In addition, fringe teams like the Charlotte Hornets, the Miami Heat, and the Detroit Pistons (seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively) will have the chance to solidify their playoff positioning if Indiana happens to drop out of playoff contention.
Effect on the Indiana Pacers
Losing Victor Oladipo for the season has effectively decimated the Pacers’ playoff hopes. The Pacers were serious competitors, despite the fact that they were never expected to make it to the Finals out of the East. Without Oladipo, they’ve been more or less written off — nobody has the Pacers making the second round.
What could hurt the team more than many would expect it to, is losing his on-court leadership. Victor Oladipo is a man who leads by example, an all-too valuable characteristic in a team’s best player.
Take the Pacers’ loss to LeBron and his Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs in the 2017-18 season. Oladipo, the Pacers’ best and most hard-working player in that series, instantly messaged his trainer. He was ready to get to work right away: “When do we start? I’m ready to take it to another level.”
Oladipo’s teammates were inspired after seeing their star player working his tail off for them. His drive to better himself spurred them into action, with noticeable improvements from many. Myles Turner, in particular, had a busy offseason, dropping his body fat percentage from 14% to 7%.
Losing Oladipo, a guy who inspires his teammates with both his play on-court and his hard-work off-court will likely see the Pacers drop from third in the East to a low playoff seed, or out of contention altogether.
A relatively easy schedule over the next couple of weeks should help Indiana ease into their new, Oladipo-less reality. Aside from the Golden State Warriors on Monday, the Pacers will see a schedule of almost entirely sub-500 squads. The Pacers might struggle soon after, as they move on to play higher skilled teams. Don’t be surprised if the Pacers lose out in the first round, or worse, eliminated entirely.
Effect on the League
Victor Oladipo’s season-ending knee injury hurts the Pacers, but will likely help other contenders in the East. However, it’s never easy losing one of the NBA’s young stars, and the effects of that have been seen across the league with Oladipo’s fellow stars showing all sorts of love to him on social media. Regardless of whether the injury helps or hurts their team, everyone in the NBA world, players, media, and fans alike are all hoping for a full recovery.
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