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Bennedict Mathurin out for season with shoulder injury

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The Indiana Pacers’ playoff push encountered a major speed bump with rising star Bennedict “Benn” Mathurin sidelined for the remainder of the 2023-24 season.

Despite winning the March 5 game against the Dallas Mavericks 137-120, Mathurin’s injury occurred during a collision with Dallas Mavericks forward P.J. Washington. Mathurin exited the game, but his injury did not appear severe to many at first glance.

However, the Pacers announced that Mathurin will undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder on March 9, shelving the budding star until next year.

(Left to Right) Indiana Pacers forward Myles Turner (33), shooting guard Bennedict Mathurin (00) and point guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) after winning the 2024 Kia Skills Challenge, held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana during NBA All-Star Weekend February 17, 2024. (Photo/Walt Thomas)
(Left to Right) Indiana Pacers forward Myles Turner (33), shooting guard Bennedict Mathurin (00) and point guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) after winning the 2024 Kia Skills Challenge, held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana during NBA All-Star Weekend February 17, 2024. (Photo/Walt Thomas)

“We are going to miss Benn,” Indiana Pacers forward Obi Toppin said following the game against the Orlando Magic on March 10. “Obviously, it was tough hearing that he will be out for the season, but we definitely have a really good bench. The depth is there, but we are going to miss Benn.”

Mathurin’s absence is a significant blow to a Pacers team currently in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. The second-year guard out of Arizona was averaging a solid 14.5 points per game and shooting a commendable 44.6% (50% true shooting) from the field.

More importantly, Mathurin’s energy, consistency and athleticism provided a vital spark off the bench for the league’s top-rated offense. Mathurin and Los Angeles Clippers guard Norman Powell are two of the most impactful scorers off the bench over the last two seasons, data from Basketball Reference finds.

More News: T-Wolves at Pacers Gameday Photos

Toronto Raptors at Indiana Pacers basketball game photo at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 26, 2024. (Photo/Walt Thomas)
Toronto Raptors forward R.J. Barrett attempts to keep the ball secure from Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton and Pacers forward Bennedict Mathurin during their matchup at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, located in Downtown Indianapolis, IN., on February 26, 2024. (Photo/Walt Thomas)

The Pacers, currently holding onto the seventh seed in the East with a 36-29 record, will have to find ways to replace Mathurin’s production. Coach Rick Carlisle will likely look to Aaron Nesmith and veteran guard TJ McConnell to step up and provide scoring punch in the young guard’s absence.

While the loss of Mathurin is felt by many players and fans, the Pacers remain confident in their ability to make the playoffs. Indiana boasts a deep roster with a strong starting lineup led by All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton, new addition forward Pascal Siakam and veteran shot blocker Myles Turner.

“It is a big loss,” Turner said following the contest against the Magic on March 10. “He was integral to what we were doing this year. I think he was just starting to find his stride too.”

Despite this, Mathurin’s absence casts some doubt on how far the Pacers can go this postseason, especially considering the team’s struggles defensively at times.

Pacers medical staff said that they believe Mathurin will make a full recovery and be ready for the 2024-25 season.

“Losing Benn is huge,” Haliburton said following the contest against the Orlando Magic on March 10. “I am hoping for a good recovery for him and that he will get back good for us next year.”


Contact senior sports writer Noral Parham at 317-762-7846 or via email at noralp@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @3Noral. For more Indiana Pacers news courtesy of the Indianapolis Recorder, click here.

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