Indiana Pacers center Domantas Sabonis is expected to rejoin the team inside the NBA’s bubble at Walt Disney World on Saturday after spending the past six weeks rehabbing his plantar fasciitis, coach Nate McMillan confirmed before their 124-115 Game 3 loss to the Miami Heat.
The likelihood that he’ll be able to get back on the court this season, however, isn’t very high.
“He’s supposed to arrive sometime today,” McMillan said on Fox Sports Indiana. “He will go into quarantine for a few days. Even though he is here, it’ll be a few days before we can even see him.”
McMillan: "We've got to be consistent with our play throughout the game. ... We can't give up big runs or big quarters like we've given up." #Pacers— FOX Sports Indiana (@FSIndiana) August 22, 2020
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No expectation he’ll rejoin active roster
Sabonis is averaging 18.5 points and 12.4 rebounds per game this season, his fourth in the league. The 24-year-old — who is in the final year of his initial four-year, $11 million deal — left the bubble before the seeding games began after attempting to practice through his foot injury.
While his return might sound like good news for Pacers fans, it likely won’t be as impactful as they may hope.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it “isn’t believed” that Sabonis was able to engage in any basketball activity while he was outside of the bubble. When he does clear quarantine, there is “no expectation” that he will rejoin the Pacers’ active roster.
Even if he were able to get back into basketball shape and on the active roster, it may be too late anyway.
The Pacers are already down 3-0 in their first-round series against the Heat, and Sabonis won’t have cleared quarantine until at least Wednesday — as the league has a four-day minimum quarantine for players who re-enter the bubble. Game 5, assuming the Pacers can extend the series, is scheduled for Wednesday.
In order for him to actually get back on the court, it’ll likely require that the Pacers get out of the first round of the postseason. Even then, it sounds like it’s still a long shot.
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