Pacers center Jalen Smith exits Trail Blazers game in third quarter, ruled out for series in Miami
Smith suffered what was determined to be a left heel contusion and did not finish the game. The Pacers lost at home for the third time in four games.
UPDATE: Nov. 29 — Jalen Smith has been diagnosed with a left knee bone bruise, in addition to a left heel contusion, head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters on Wednesday after practice.
Smith will not make the trip to Miami so he’ll miss at least the next two games. That potentially opens up the first opportunity for rookie Oscar Tshiebwe.
He’s a rebounding force who signed a two-way deal with the Pacers after going undrafted in June. He will be available, if needed.
“The best thing I bring to the team is my rebound ability,” Tshiebwe said earlier this year. “It’s a gift and it’s effort and it’s hard work. I watched Dennis Rodman, the man was a beast. He helped Mike Jordan win a couple championships.
“The thing that’s missing on so many teams is somebody who can go do the dirty work, rebound, try to fight for position and grab an extra rebound, give to the team; shoot again and if you miss, I’ll fight again.”
The Pacers opened Monday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers with a clean bill of health, but they didn’t end it that way.
With 4:09 left in the third quarter, backup center Jalen Smith needed assistance to his feet and back to the locker room from athletic trainers Carl Eaton and Patrick Gilbert after something didn’t feel right with his left leg.
It looked like a hyperextended left knee as Blazers rookie guard Scoot Henderson attacked in transition. However, Smith was listed as doubtful to return seven minutes later due to a left heel contusion (aka bruise).
A few minutes later, he was downgraded to out.
The Pacers, who were 12-point favorites, ended up falling 114-110 for their third home loss in four games. They were at home for 11 of 16 games to begin the season and went 6-5, which isn’t good enough.
“This is a bad loss,” said guard Tyrese Haliburton. “This is a really bad loss for us as a group. It’s frustrating.”
The Pacers have alternated wins and losses over their last eight games.
The Blazers were up by four points when Smith left the game, replaced by Isaiah Jackson in the lineup. Smith had nine points and five rebounds in 12 minutes.
Indiana now has two days between games ahead of a two-game series in Miami on Thursday and Saturday, which begins a road-heavy schedule over the next three weeks.