Chris Duarte will play with the Mad Ants on road back from injury
An update of Indiana Pacers’ guard Chris Duarte.
Indiana Pacers guard Chris Duarte sprained his ankle in a game against the Miami Heat on November 4th, 2022. He has not played a game since and the Pacers would enjoy seeing his offense added to this lineup.
Luckily for Indiana, Duarte is nearing a return and is set to play in his first game in over a month on Wednesday with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. The Pacers assigned Chris Duarte to the Mad Ants on Monday and he did practice with them and was then recalled to the Pacers.
However, it was a short stint away, because Indiana assigned him back to the Mad Ants on Tuesday to play in this game with the Mad Ants. They are in Wisconsin while the Pacers have a game against the defending champion Golden State Warriors — who they beat on their road trip last week.
Duarte struggledto start his sophomore season and with this injury, he hasn't been able to play through the slump. This makes me eager to see him return and also curious about how he is reintegrated into the lineup. He was a starter early this season before being moved around and then injured. He has only played nine games this season and in that time has shot 39% from the field, 34% from deep, and averaged 8.9 points per game.
Andrew Nembhard has been Rick Carlisle’s go-to for the starting role next to Haliburton and Buddy Hield, so I anticipate that to continue when Duarte returns. A bench unit of McConnell, Duarte, Mathurin, Jackson, and Nesmith is what I think it would look like. However, Carlisle has shied away from a set second unit this season and I would not be surprised if the starting lineup changes again at some point this season.
Last season, Duarte was shot over 40% from the field and 36% from deep while averaging 13 points a game. He also missed nearly 30 games with a lingering toe injury, playing 55 of the total 82. This season he has only played nine of their 28 total games.
High hopes circle Duarte who was the team's lottery pick of last season and was someone who stole the show before the trade deadline deal. Indiana found consistency in Duarte who was named a rising star — he appeared at All-Star weekend with Tyrese Haliburton but did not play due to injury.
Indiana will welcome back Duarte upon his return to the court and will be watching closely to see if he can provide a positive spark to this roster. He is a confident shooter that can give solid help on the defensive side of the ball — something the Pacers have missed.
You can watch Duarte in action at 7:00PM on Dec. 14th on ESPN+ as the Mad Ants take on the Wisonsin Herd.
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