Before the Miami Heat took on the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, Victor Oladipo was spotted in workout gear on the sidelines, prompting new hope the two-time All-Star will be able to return to play this season.
While there were numerous reports that the 28-year-old guard would be done for the season after reinjuring his right knee on April 8, 2021, on April 18, Five Reasons Sports Network shared a major update, tweeting, “No new injury showed up on MRI. tied to old quad injury. It’s up to him, depending on pain tolerance and precautions.”
Heat Nation reported the same day that “the Miami Heat are hopeful that Victor Oladipo will return after he suffered a knee injury” but “there is currently no timetable for his return.”
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Oladipo’s X-rays didn’t show anything severely wrong, and the news about his MRI is good. However, the biggest concern with Oladipo remains — the fact that he’s so injury prone. Oladipo admitted after joining the Heat that he was still struggling from rupturing the quadriceps tendon in that same knee back on January 23, 2019. After undergoing surgery, Oladipo missed the rest of the 2018- 2019 NBA season and didn’t return to action until January 29, 2020.
On April 3, 2021, Oladipo spoke about his recovery process. “One leg is stronger than the other,” he said. “So I have some hypertrophy in one leg than the other. So working my way back and finding my balance is something I’m continuing to work at.”
The Heat were fully aware Oladipo was still not 100% when they acquired him from the Rockets and decided it was best that he only played one game when the team has back-to-backs. Now, they might have to plan on finding a replacement.
Before taking an awkward fall, Oladipo was putting on a great performance on April 8. He scored 18 points, with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and a blocked shot.
While ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said he expects Oladipo to return this season, Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra remains mum on the topic. Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman tweeted on Sunday, “Spoelstra declines to specify whether Victor Oladipo has been doing work behind the scenes or whether he expects Oladipo to return.”
Oladipo’s Future With the Heat Remains in Jeopardy
If Oladipo and the Heat, who obtained him cheap from the Houston Rockets, ultimately don’t work out, Miami will waive him once the season is over. But for Oladipo, the stakes are much higher. Oladipo, who turns 29 in May, was looking at this summer as his big chance to sign a max contract.
Winderman reported on April 10:
This was always Part B of the Victor Oladipo equation, that if for any reason, be it injury or productivity, the Heat still could circle back to utilizing cap space, instead of Victor’s Bird Rights, this summer in free agency. As it is, it is increasingly unlikely that Victor will get anything near a maximum deal this summer, in terms or annual dollars or even years, from the Heat or elsewhere. Thursday’s injury rekindled plenty of questions that never were far removed from the conversation.
While Oladipo clearly injected speed and energy into the Heat’s game during his short stint, it might not make sense to keep an injury-prone guard on the roster when the franchise can obtain a seasoned veteran like Kyle Lowry, 35, over the summer.