Heat’s 2-Time All Star Breaks Silence on ‘Nasty Fall From Grace’

Victor Oladipo Heat

Getty Miami Heat star Victor Oladipo poses for a photo during the team's 2021 media day.

After 11 months on the shelf — and multiple years of problems with his right quad — Victor Oladipo is finally back on the hardwood for the Miami Heat. He may still have a long way to go before he’s fully himself again, but the early returns have been encouraging.

In his first game back, he put up 11 points and four assists in just 15 minutes against the Rockets. And his body appears to have held up over subsequent appearances.

While things are progressing well now, though, Oladipo has clearly been put through the wringer. The two-time All-Star spoke to The Athletic recently and for the write-up, Joe Vardon described the situation as a “nasty fall from grace.”

Given what Oladipo recounted about the experience, that phrase definitely rings true.

Oladipo Says He Didn’t Get the Help He Needed

Oladipo’s history is well-known at this point. While starring for the Pacers in January of 2019, he ruptured his right quad and was forced to undergo surgery. It would be a full year before he returned — just before the pandemic struck. However, the pain lingered.

After a trade to Houston, the Rockets later shipped him off to the Heat. But before he could make any kind of impact in his new digs, he had to undergo a second quad surgery. That one cost him another year of action, bringing us up to his recent return.

Oladipo told Vardon that his injury lingered because the first procedure was actually done “incorrectly.”

“Who’s to say in 2019 they really knew about what was going on with quad tendons? I’m sure they know a lot more now so, you know, I don’t blame anyone,” he said.

But he wasn’t just having issues on the medical side. As he puts it, some of his own people were pushing him down the wrong path, too.

“You pretty much trust your whole being and your career in certain people’s hands, and they kind of, unfortunately, fumbled it,” Oladipo said. “It’s a learning lesson. I trust my instinct more now than ever.”

The 29-year-old had to rethink who he would allow into his inner circle. He even switched agents, from Aaron Turner to Jeff Schwartz and Javon Phillips at Excel Sports.

“Feeling like people kind of wrote me off, and feeling like people are kind of being weird, moving weird around me as a person. It was just weird, and I didn’t help myself either. I had to change the people I was around, who I was letting represent me. I had to change who I was letting manage my life. I had to change a whole bunch of stuff.”

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Getting Back to Business

As Oladipo sees it, the trials and tribulations that have plagued him over the last few years are over with. He’s confident now that he can get back to the business of being great on the hardwood; it’s all just a matter of getting the reps in and getting back up to speed.

“I know when I’m right and I’m 100 percent physically what I’m capable of doing, so I don’t have to worry about anything but getting healthy,” Oladipo said. “I still plan on being really, really, really good at this game and I still plan on being one of the greats.”

In many ways, Oladipo feels as though he’s having to start over after all that he has been through. However, he’s learned something about himself in the process.

“The game, the world, kind of forgot about me,” he said. “It tests your faith. It tests you as a person and it helps you realize how strong you truly are.”


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