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Pacers guard Chris Duarte sidelined indefinitely with left ankle sprain
He will be reevaluated in two weeks. With Duarte and Aaron Nesmith out, rookie Bennedict Mathurin could make his first career start Monday vs New Orleans.
Pacers guard Chris Duarte has been ruled out for the next two weeks due to a left ankle sprain and will be reevaluated in two weeks (Nov. 20).
That means the second-year player will be sidelined for at least the next six games.
“He’s got a sprained ankle and he’s had a couple of good days,” head coach Rick Carlisle said after Sunday’s practice. “He’s walking without a limp, he’s getting treatment every day and we’ll give you an update in two weeks.”
As is the case in recent years, the Pacers are not sharing a timeline to return. However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski adds that it’s a Grade II sprain and will keep Duarte sidelined for 4-to-6 weeks.
As usual, I turn to athletic trainer Jeff Stotts of InStreetClothes.com for a detailed explanation. “A Grade II sprain occurs when particular fibers of the ligament fail and is often referred to as a moderate sprain or a partial tear. Grade II sprains are generally more painful and limiting. The associated symptoms are more severe with high amounts of swelling usually occurring. As a result these injuries require intensive treatment and extended rest.”
Duarte was walking around after practice in sandals and without a limp. That’s good progress from what we saw less than 48 hours earlier. And he seemed to be in good spirits talking with staff members.
However, it’s discouraging since Duarte was coming off a career-high 30-point night a week ago in Brooklyn. He was starting to find his groove and settle in nicely to his job description.
The last time we saw Duarte, he had his arms around teammates Goga Bitadze and James Johnson as he made his way back to the locker room without putting weight on his left ankle.
Minutes earlier, in Friday’s home win over the Miami Heat, Duarte was down on the court by the south basket at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. He was chasing Heat guard Kyle Lowry along the baseline, jumped to contest a shot and his left ankle turned outward upon landing on Lowry’s right foot.
He immediately clutched it and his face revealed that this was not a simple tweak. It was painful. He was mad. And he couldn’t walk without assistance.
First, it was Jalen Smith and Myles Turner who helped him get to the sidelines. To the scorer’s table. That’s where reserves Bitadze and Johnson took over, then took him back to the locker room.
After the game, Duarte was on crutches.
This is another hit to the backcourt with Aaron Nesmith missing time with right foot soreness. He last played on Oct. 28 in Washington
So with Duarte sidelined, along with Nesmith, Bennedict Mathurin likely moves into the starting lineup after coming off the bench for the first nine games. And it means more minutes for rookie Andrew Nembhard, who plays multiple roles and defended Miami’s Tyler Herro on his game-winning shot attempt Friday night.
“Guys got to be ready,” said starting point guard Tyrese Haliburton. “New guys are gonna have to step up.”
The Pacers have also brought back two-way guard Trevelin Queen for depth purposes. He had 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists Saturday night in the Mad Ants' season-opening win over G League foe Grand Rapids Gold, 152-129. (Yes, that score is correct.)
“This is why we brought him in,” Carlisle said of Queen, “To be ready. He has some NBA experience so it’ll be a good opportunity for him to be with us. Not sure if he’ll play or not, but he’s gonna have to be ready.”
The Pacers are at home all week.
Monday: v Pelicans — note the tip time, 7:45 p.m. ET
Wednesday: v Nuggets
Saturday: v Raptors
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