The injury setbacks that have plagued Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo in recent years have him motivated to show everyone that he’s still an elite player.
Joe Vardon of The Athletic spoke with Oladipo about the guard’s journey.
“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 told The Athletic. “I still plan on being really, really, really good at this game and I still plan on being one of the greats.”
In early 2019, Oladipo ruptured his right quadriceps tendon and didn’t return until the following season. Even though he was back on the court, his performance wasn’t at its previous level. Then, soon after joining the Heat last season, he suffered another setback before finally returning to action earlier this month.
In his first game this season on March 7 against the Houston Rockets, Oladipo scored 11 points and handed out four assists in just under 15 minutes of action. That effort only scratched the surface of what he’s been able to do in the past.
The 29-year-old’s time away from the game caused him to reflect on the world’s perception of him.
“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.”
The last time Oladipo appeared in almost a full season’s worth of games was the 2017-18 campaign. In 75 games, he delivered solid all-around averages of 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and a league-best 2.4 steals per game.
This season, the Heat have had success even without Oladipo’s contributions. They figure to get even better if he’s able to return to his previous level of performance.
The Heat have roughly a month left in the regular season and are carefully watching Oladipo. The hope is that by the time the postseason arrives, his comfort level will give the team some valuable production during the most important time of the year.