NBA fans watched on in horror as Miami’s Victor Oladipo fell to the floor and grabbed his knee late in the fourth quarter in Saturday’s 121-99 win against Milwaukee.
The team announced on Sunday that he tore his left patellar tendon and will now miss the rest of the postseason, with his availability heading into next season in doubt.
The injury happened when he drove down the lane past two Bucks defenders, then slipped and fell hard as he tried to jump and clutched his knee immediately.
I feel bad for Victor Oladipo.
I don’t know if he can keep doing this.
— V̷a̷t̷o̷r̷ (@Vator_H_Town) April 23, 2023
The severity of the injury was felt deeply by Oladipo’s teammates as Kyle Lowry swore, Max Strus covered his face with a towel and Jimmy Butler stared blankly at the floor with his head in his hands.
“Yes, there are injuries. That is a part of this game. We understand that,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Sunday before the diagnosis. “But the human side of it, when you see somebody that’s overcome so much and he’s done it time and time and time again, and he always does it with an incredible positive spirit and a smile on his face even last night … that’s why I admire him so much.”
Following his latest injury, this will be the third major surgery Oladipo’s undergone in the last four years – one of them being a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee in January 2019, which then required another surgery in May of 2021.
He first hurt himself when playing for the Pacers in 2019 and since then, has missed 255 of 374 games – he was listed as inactive for 226 of those.
Heat center Cody Zeller played with Oladipo in college in Indiana so has been with him through hard times.
“The physical toll of rehab is tough but mentally, it’s even tougher,” Zeller said. “And he’s always so positive. He’ll attack this rehab like he has the others. Mentally, I don’t know how he does it. There’s a lot of long days, a lot of slow days and it’s tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m just sick for him.”
This season, the shooting guard had played 42 games for Miami, the most he’s participated in any regular season since 2017-18.