Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo injured his left eye in the first quarter of Tuesday’s 113-101 Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat in the NBA’s Florida bubble and was being evaluated at the on-campus NBA clinic, the team announced.
The Pacers said initial tests showed “no immediate concerns” and that Oladipo was day-to-day.
The injury occurred with 3 minutes, 28 seconds left in the quarter when Oladipo was inadvertently poked in the eye by Heat forward Jae Crowder. Oladipo initially stayed in the game to shoot two free throws but then was taken out and did not return.
Pacers coach Nate McMillan said Oladipo’s eye started to swell after it was poked and that he never considered putting him back into the game.
“It wasn’t an option,” McMillan said. “His vision was really blurry, really couldn’t see out of his eye when we spoke to him at halftime, and he was going to get that checked out.”
Oladipo scored four points in nine minutes before the injury.
His teammates and coaches said they are hopeful Oladipo will be back soon but that they knew he was in some discomfort.
“He wasn’t saying much,” Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon said. “He was just saying he got hit in the eye, and we just got to wait to see if he’ll be back next game. I just want him to be healthy, honestly. Forget about basketball. I just want him to be able to have vision out of that eye and be OK.”
Oladipo played in just 19 games this season as he recovered from a quad injury that kept him out for a year. If he does have to miss any time, his teammates said they are optimistic they can pick up the slack in his absence.
“Next man up,” Pacers swingman T.J. Warren said. “When Vic went down, it was tough to see. Got to check on him and see if he’s all right. But guys have been in and out of the lineup all year, so just the ‘next man up’ mentality for us; and guys are used to it, so we just got to be able to be ready to step up if Vic is not able to go, but hopefully he is.”