Thursday, March 30 2023
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The Indiana Pacers will be without second-year guard Chris Duarte for 4-6 weeks as he recovers from a Grade 2 left ankle sprain, per ESPN. The injury occurred during Indiana’s Friday night game against the Miami Heat, where Duarte tweaked his ankle midway through the first quarter. As Duarte jumped to try and contest a layup by Heat guard Kyle Lowry under the basket, he came down on Lowry’s foot and immediately began grabbing at his left ankle.

Duarte had to be helped off the court by his teammates, and was questionable for the remainder of the game, though he never returned. After the game, as the team celebrated head coach Rick Carlisle’s 865th career win, Duarte could be seen in the background on crutches of the video that the Pacers shared on Twitter. 

Losing Duarte for at least a month is a tough blow for the young guard, who was named to the All-Rookie team a season ago. He averaged over 13 points in his rookie season, and while he started out the gates slower than last year — averaging 8.9 points and 2.1 rebounds — he is part of a young crop of players Indiana is trying to develop together. 

With Duarte sidelined, it should open up more opportunities for rookie guard Bennedict Mathurin, who has been coming off the bench for the entirety of the season. Mathurin has already proven that he should be starting, averaging 20.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists, but due to a logjam in the backcourt with Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield, as well as Duarte being pushed down to small forward, there hasn’t been much room for him. But with Duarte out for at least a month, it’ll give the Pacers the chance to see what Mathurin looks like with the starting unit.

Losing a player like Duarte, who is capable of scoring on or off the ball isn’t ideal, but Indiana has the depth behind him with Mathurin, who figures to be a big part of the Pacers future going forward. 



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