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INDIANAPOLIS – Originally, the Pacers had a specific 7-game plan for Victor Oladipo that would lead into next week’s All-Star break.
That was Oladipo playing 24 minutes, at most, each game, coming off the bench for 4 separate 6-minute segments to end each quarter.
Well, 3 games into Oladipo’s return, the Pacers are changing things up.
“We need to increase Vic’s minutes because he’s not getting the workload that he was getting during (the last month of his rehab,” Nate McMillan said following the end to Tuesday’s practice. “The 24 minutes, 6 minutes at a time, is not allowing him to get to that workload that they feel he needs to be.
“So we are going to add another minute to the quarter, so I have 28 minutes (for him).”
And it’s possible Oladipo could be inserted back into the starting lineup, well before the post All-Star break date last week’s initial plan had for him.
“We are going to possibly look at starting him because they feel we need to try and get him to that workload that he needs to put on his knee,” McMillan added.
While Oladipo has looked up to speed physically in his return, he’s put up dreadful shooting numbers: 8-of-39 (20.5 percent) on field goals, 3-of-21 (14.3 percent) on three-pointers.
Oladipo is pleased with his explosiveness, but admits to pressing a bit in his current plan of the 6-minute segments to end each quarter.
“It’s a challenge trying to catch your rhythm in short periods in the game,” the 27-year-old said on Tuesday afternoon. “It’s kind of like you are cramming when you are studying for the test the night before, instead of the whole week. It’s an adjustment. But I remember a year ago around this time I couldn’t sleep at night because the pain was so excruciating. I’d rather go through this than go through that again.
“I’ll figure this out, just like I figured that out.”
Looking at the Friday/Saturday back-to-back coming for the Pacers this week, McMillan said the team hasn’t decided which game Oladipo will sit out. Indiana’s original plan was to have Oladipo sit out the final 3 back-to-backs to close out the season. The Pacers host the Raptors on Friday, before playing at home again on Saturday, against the Pelicans.
McMillan said the availability of T.J. Warren (concussion) this weekend will contribute to the decision on when to have Oladipo sit.
Warren will not travel with the team for Wednesday’s game in Toronto. He remains in the concussion protocol after leaving Saturday’s loss to the Knicks. Warren was watching the end of Tuesday’s practice, but not participating. The Pacers are hoping he will be ready for Friday’s home rematch against the Raptors.