This one hurts: Pacers suffer crippling blow to playoff hopes

Callie Lawson-Freeman

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 10:  Bennedict Mathurin #00 of the Indiana Pacers looks on against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 10, 2024 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Bennedict Mathurin of the Indiana Pacers is done for the season. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Indiana Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, the team announced on Saturday.

The 21-year-old was averaging 14.5 points per game off the bench this season. Mathurin sustained the injury during a 137-120 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, which saw him score 19 points in 25 minutes.

He was initially expected to be out for around three or four games before the diagnosis, with head coach Rick Carlisle telling reporters on Thursday that there was hope the injury would be short term. Mathurin wasn’t immediately aware of the severity, potentially due to adrenaline from the game, Carlisle added.

Surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform his surgery in Los Angeles next week.

While the 2024 Rising Stars MVP is expected to make a full recovery in time for next season, he’ll be missed as the Pacers fight to make the playoffs this year.

Mathurin made his mark as a strong sixth man for Indiana soon after the team drafted him sixth overall in 2022. He was the third fastest rookie to reach 1,000 career points in Pacers history, landing fourth in Rookie of the Year voting. He even received two third-place votes for Sixth Man of the Year.

Guard Jarace Walker saw increased minutes during the Pacers’ 113-111 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves without Mathurin on Thursday. The rookie recorded five points, five rebounds, an assist and a steal. The Pacers selected him with the No. 8 pick of he 2023 draft, and he will likely be expected to step into a more consistent role for the remainder of the season.

This story will be updated.