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How do you find a way to keep doing what you’re doing without your best player?
The Indiana Pacers may be about to find out. They lost star guard Victor Oladipo to what appeared to be a serious knee injury in the first half of Wednesday’s win against the visiting Toronto Raptors.
According to ESPN, the Pacers are preparing for the worst — and the idea Oladipo will be lost for the season.
And what a season it has been for the Pacers (32-15), currently in third place in the Eastern Conference. But now, suddenly everything could change.
They may have to learn to accept life with Oladipo and his team-leading 19.2 points per game.
“We’re worried about the injury, but we have to continue to play,” Pacers forward Thaddeus Young told reporters, via J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star. “No one is going to feel sorry for us. Everyone is going to try to beat the snot out of us. So we got to continue play and continue to take that next-man-up mentality. Get guys ready to fill certain voids. I have to show up each and every night. DC (Darren Collison) has to show up each and every night. Myles (Turner) does. Bogey (Bojan Bogdanovic). Cory (Joseph).
“All of us. Every night, we all have to step up and do our jobs and make sure we continue to have the best season we can have.”
Swingman Tyreke Evans will likely have to fill in for Oladipo, just as Evans did earlier this season when Oladipo rested that same knee.
The Pacers won seven of the 11 games Oladipo missed.
Now, it appears they will have to see how they fare for an entire half season (and postseason) without their best player.
“That kid has a beautiful spirit,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “He is the most positive guy on this team. He has always been one to try to lift his team, lift us. We got to lift him now. We have to support him now in this time.”