Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Victor Oladipo plans to make his season debut Monday night in the Miami Heat's home game against the Houston Rockets, the team that traded him to Miami at last season’s deadline. Previously, Greg Sylvander of the 5 Reasons Sports network had mentioned the March 7 game against Houston as the target date.
Victor Oladipo and the Miami Heat plan for the two-time All-Star to make his season debut on Monday against the Houston Rockets, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 4, 2022
The two-time All-Star has practiced with the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the past month to recover from the knee surgery he underwent in May 2021 to repair his right quadriceps tendon. He finally is ready to play another NBA game; Oladipo played just four games with the Heat before his injury.
Now, the question becomes how does Erik Spoelstra work Oladipo into the Heat rotation. In Miami’s first couple games after the All-Star break, it appeared that Spoelstra was squeezing Max Strus out of the rotation. With absences to Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler recently, Strus has played more.
Before the season, I thought Oladipo and Tyler Herro would be the guards off the bench. But Gabe Vincent has played beyond anyone’s expectations this year. Caleb Martin, who initially signed with the Heat on a two-way contract, has also impressed as a small-ball four with Markieff Morris out for so long. (I also said before the season that Strus and Martin would compete for backup minutes until Oladipo returns.) Martin defended Kevin Durant last night.
Of course, one hopes that the Heat don’t continue to have key players in-and-out of the lineup as Oladipo plays. Miami hasn’t had the chance to have Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Lowry play together much this season. It’s important for the three of them to play with Oladipo to mesh before the playoffs.