Although Gabe Vincent has emerged as a capable backup to starting floor general Kyle Lowry, there’s a prevailing thought that the Miami Heat could use some help in the backcourt. To that end, Victor Oladipo could be just what the doctor ordered.
The two-time NBA All-Star made headlines recently when the Heat assigned him to the G League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce. While he may not see the court in an actual game for the developmental club, the fact that he’s there, participating in five-on-five action, is a major step toward his actual return.
At the least, it’s an indication that Oladipo is ramping up toward a comeback with the Heat.
However, fans expecting him to be in the lineup before — or even immediately following — the All-Star break probably need to pump the brakes. According to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, Oladipo’s return may still be a ways off.
Spoelstra Speaks out on Oladipo’s Comeback
In addressing Oladipo’s timetable for return during shootaround on Thursday, Spoelstra dashed hopes that the 29-year-old would be contributing during actual games any time soon.
“There is no imminent date or announcement,” he said of Oladipo’s season debut, via the Sun-Sentinel. “It’s really just part of the process of getting to some five-on-five, live competition.”
According to the Heat’s head coach, the combo guard’s G League assignment is part of a previously laid-out plan.
“It made great sense to send him there and have a five-on-five practice,” Spoelstra said before the team’s road bout with the Hornets. “We did not practice [Wednesday]. This was planned, really, for the last 10 days or so, for Vic to build up to that.”
That said, the fact that he has progressed to the point that he’s participating in five-on-five still offers hope that Oladipo will at least be ready for the playoff run. Once he returns, fans will probably have to strap in for a re-acclimation process. However, things are clearly trending in a positive direction.
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Oladipo at a Glance
Oladipo hasn’t appeared in a game for the Heat since April of 2021, when he was felled by a knee injury. Shortly thereafter, he underwent surgery to repair his right quadriceps tendon.
The former No. 2 overall pick had previously ruptured his quad in 2019 when he was still playing for Pacers. The injury required an intensive recovery process that saw him sit out for a full calendar year before returning in January 2020. Since then, though, he has appeared in just 52 regular-season games.
He played in four games for the Heat last season before going under the knife. Over 454 career games, Oladipo has averaged 17.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.6 steals per contest.
In 2017-18, he was the league’s Most Improved Player honoree, its steals champ, an All-Defensive team selection, as well as an All-NBA pick.