Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo is plotting a return to action by the end of the month.
Oladipo, who has been out for a year after rupturing a tendon in his knee, told Shams Charania of The Athletic that he is targeting Jan. 29 against the Chicago Bulls as his date to return to action while adding that it could yet change.
The fact that there’s a targeted return date at all will be music to the ears of Pacers fans. Oladipo had blossomed into an All-NBA player before the devastating injury cost him a year just as he was entering his physical prime. In 2017-18, his last full season before the injury, he averaged 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.4 steals per game.
The Pacers have held out okay without Oladipo this season, going 23-14. While it might take him some time to get back to his best, having him at all is a boost to their playoff chances.
The Jan. 29 date gives Oladipo an opportunity to play as many as eight games before a nine-day layoff for the All-Star break. Seven of those eight will be at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a home back-to-back against the Raptors and Pelicans (Feb. 7-8). During that stretch, Indiana will also face the Bulls, Knicks, Mavericks, Nets, and Bucks, along with the second game in Toronto.