Heat Insider Offers Broad Timeline on Victor Oladipo Return

Victor Oladipo, Miami Heat

Getty Victor Oladipo, Miami Heat

One of the pleasant surprises for the Heat this NBA season has been the performance of the team’s bench, where, of course, Tyler Herro has been outstanding but where Heat have also gotten big-time contributions from the likes of Dewayne Dedmon, Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent and Max Strus.

The Heat have a bench plus/minus of plus-2.4, which ranks sixth in the NBA. But one of the concerns going forward is the ability of the reserve unit to maintain that level of production. And the one mitigating factor in that is the play of swingman Victor Oladipo—when and if he returns to action.

In talking about the bench on the Miami Herald’s podcast this week, team insider Barry Jackson gave an update—albeit loose—about when we might see Oladipo again in a Heat uniform.

“Of course, that is the big variable with this team,” Jackson said. “I don’t expect to see him after the New Year, I’ve heard everything from late January to March. It’s a timetable the Heat will never be precise about.”

Miami Traded for Oladipo Last March

The Heat, remember, brought in Oladipo at the trade deadline last year after failing to put together an in-season deal for Kyle Lowry. Oladipo has struggled to come back from a nasty quadriceps injury he suffered in January 2019, when he was playing for Indiana, an injury that also affected his knee.

He played four games with Miami after bringing him in from Houston before he went out again with knee pain, and his season ended when he again had surgery on the quadriceps tendon in May. He averaged 12.0 points but never quite looked right in his time with the Heat, shooting 37.2% from the field.

The Heat took a gamble on him in the offseason, signing him on a veteran’s minimum $2.3 million contract.

It had been reported in September that Oladipo was ahead of schedule in his rehab and could return by December—perhaps available by Christmas. But according to Jackson, that is not happening. As he said, the Heat have been mum on his return, but it was long believed he would not be back until around the All-Star game in February.

Can Oladipo Boost the Heat Bench?

Assuming Oladipo does come back, the big question will be, how much can he contribute? And will that be enough to bolster the Heat bench if some of its role players see their numbers sag as the year goes on.

Victor Oladipo Talks Re-signing w/ Miami Heat, Health Going Into Season and Return, Love For DefenseMiami Heat guard Victor Oladipo talks to Tobin and Leroy about why he re-signed with Miami, how much better he feels physically and grades the snacks Tobin brought to media day. Watch the full show every morning live on Twitch. Please subscribe here: twitch.tv/790theticket To listen, subscribe to Tobin & Leroy podcast: audacy.com/theticketmiami/podcasts/tobin-leroy-20279 Apple Podcast:…2021-09-29T11:35:10Z

Oladipo had earned All-Star spots in each of the two years before he was injured. He averaged 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 2017-18, his first All-Star year, and had followed that up with 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists the following year.

“When he comes back, I don’t think anyone can realistically expect a guy who is going to be anything close to All-Star quality,” Jackson said. “I’m not saying that long-term because he’s dedicated enough and skilled enough to eventually perhaps get back to All-Star form—I’m talking about what we can expect when he comes back from major knee surgery in late March or April. Maybe you can project him for a playoff rotation spot but I think it is unreasonable to expect vintage Victor Oladipo.”

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