The Miami Heat is heavily shorthanded heading into their upcoming road trip, they’re without Jimmy Butler (bruised tailbone), Bam Adebayo (thumb), Markieff Morris (neck), and Caleb Martin (protocol), but one familiar face joined the team on the road for the first time this season: Victor Oladipo!
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It’s incredibly exciting to learn Oladipo is traveling with the Heat to Cleveland before they take on the Cavaliers on Monday, December 12, but he will not be playing. The two-time All-Star is joining the road trip in order to soak up the experience, per Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang.
Oladipo first joined the Heat on March 25 in a trade deal that involved Miami sending Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and a 2022 draft pick to the Houston Rockets in exchange for the Indiana alum. The 29-year-old guard made it clear that he wanted to stay with the Heat for the long term following the trade, purchasing a $7.8 million home on Hibiscus Drive, as reported by The Real Deal.
However, Oladipo only appeared in four games with the Heat before suffering a season-ending injury on April 8. While his future in Miami appeared in limbo during the offseason, the Heat resigned him to a veteran’s minimum deal in August.
“I wasn’t given the opportunity to be my best self here,” Oladipo said of wanting to remain in Miami. “I don’t know what our team would have done with a healthy version of me because I wasn’t given that opportunity; I was dealt a bad hand. I feel there’s unfinished business here. I feel like I came here for a reason and there’s a purpose for me being here and I’m trying to find out what that is… I believe we can do something very special here for years to come and I want to be a part of it.”
Oladipo Wants to Have One of the ‘Best Comeback Stories Ever’
Oladipo admitted on media day back in September that rehabilitation has not been easy. “It’s been really tough,” he said, per Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson. “This is another battle in the books for me. I want to show my resiliency and have one of the best comeback stories ever.”
“I want to make the most of my situation. It’s easy to quit and say ‘woe is me,’ but that doesn’t solve the problem. I know there are a lot of eyes watching. Hopefully, I can be a vessel for them and show them they can get through anything if they really put their mind to it.”
Oladipo Remains Unsure His Return Timeline
The Heat took a gamble resigning Oladipo, as his return date remains in flux. At first, Oladipo was not expected to play again until 2022, but on August 20, Dr. Jonathon Glashow, who performed Oladipo’s season-ending surgery, revealed he’s expected to be back in action before the new year.
“I repaired the quad tendon and did it a little differently than [he had] it done before,” Dr. Glashow told ESPN. “The quad wasn’t really hooked up. It was torn, and I reattached it. I was amazed he was playing with what he had. I’m very optimistic that I could clear him in six months, by November. I think he’s going to play really well again… [The surgery] went extremely well, and it’s healing beautifully. I’m confident he’ll play next year.”
Despite the surgeon’s optimistic timeline, Oladipo said on media day that wasn’t sure if he’d appear in a game before 2022, or. before February’s All-Star break. “I wish I had the answers, but I really don’t know.”
“Hopefully, sooner than later,” Oladipo added, who’s been medically cleared to do “super light stuff, nothing crazy… I’m doing better now. I have no control of the past. Here and now, I feel great. I’m getting better every day.”