Bennedict Mathurin

Injury Notes: S. Barnes, Kuzma, J. Johnson, J. Allen

An MRI on Scottie Barnes‘ left wrist came back clean, according to Josh Lewenberg of (Twitter link). However, the wrist – which the Raptors forward injured during Sunday’s loss in Milwaukee – is still sore and will likely undergo more testing, Lewenberg adds. For now, Barnes is considered day-to-day, and Lewenberg believes he’ll likely be listed as questionable to play on Wednesday vs. Indiana after not practicing on Tuesday.

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma has been ruled out for Tuesday’s contest in Orlando due to a right ankle sprain, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. It will be the third time in the last four games that Washington will be without either Kuzma or Kristaps Porzingis.
  • Following an MRI, Hawks forward Jalen Johnson was diagnosed with a mild hamstring and groin strain, a league source tells Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). According to Williams, Johnson will be reevaluated early next week.
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen, who has been out for four games due to a right eye contusion, is nearing a return. According to Chris Fedor of (Twitter link), Allen was a full participant in Monday’s practice and has a chance to play on Tuesday. He’s currently listed as questionable.
  • After missing four games due to a right ankle sprain, Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin returned to action on Monday, as Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star details. Mathurin showed no ill effects following the brief layoff, scoring 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting.

Central Notes: Middleton, Ingles, Mobley, Allen, Duarte, Mathurin

The good news for the Bucks on their most recent road trip went beyond their 2-1 record, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Khris Middleton and Joe Ingles, who both dealt with injuries earlier in the season, appear fully healthy and ready for the playoffs.

Owczarski notes that Middleton played nearly 34 minutes against both the Warriors and Kings and had his best game of the season with 31 points at Sacramento. Middleton missed the first 20 games of the season while recovering from surgery and was sidelined with knee soreness around the All-Star break, but he says he’s finally starting to feel like himself on the court. Ingles returned in mid-December after surgery for a torn left knee ligament, but his play has been up and down until recently.

Middleton and Ingles formed a bond during their rehab sessions, and coach Mike Budenholzer plans to use them together as much as possible.

“We like the idea of Joe and Khris playing together on the wings and having two guys that can really play pick and roll and are great at kind of picking apart (a defense), finding open guys,” Budenholzer said. “They gotta put somebody on both of them so maybe we can find things that we like, ways to attack with both of them on the court.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley said being more aggressive and learning how NBA defenders react has helped him get to the foul line more often, per Kelsy Russo of The Athletic. “I feel like as a big guy, if I give a good pump fake, they’re probably going to go for it,” Mobley said. “If they don’t, I’m already at the basket. I’ve just been pump-faking more, and then once they’re in the air just trying to draw contact and get the foul, and one.”
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen missed his fourth straight game Friday with an eye injury, but coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he has been able to do individual workouts, Russo tweets. “He’s seen a couple of specialists now and structurally everything is OK to this point,” Bickerstaff said. ” … He’s doing more on the court. And it’s just a matter of when he can safely return because of the eye.”
  • Chris Duarte and Bennedict Mathurin will sit out Saturday’s game, but Pacers coach Rick Carlisle suggests there’s a chance they can return Monday, tweets Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

Central Notes: Mathurin, G. Allen, J. Allen, Caruso

The Pacers have yet to supply a concrete timeline for rookie guard Bennedict Mathurin‘s return from his right ankle, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle did reveal that Mathurin will not suit up for the team in Thursday’s game against the mighty Bucks.

“He may travel, but he’s not going to play in the next game,” Carlisle said on Wednesday. “I’m not going to give you a timetable, but he’s not going to play in Milwaukee. He is doing better.”

Dopirak adds in another tweet that both Mathurin and second-year swingman Chris Duarte will be sidelined for today’s game. Starters Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, plus reserve point guard T.J. McConnell, are all questionable to suit up. Haliburton is dealing with a right ankle sprain.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Bucks wing Grayson Allen will also miss Thursday’s bout against the Pacers, his second straight absence, due to right plantar fascia soreness, per Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen will remain out the team’s next game, Friday against the Wizards, due to a right eye contusion, per Chris Fedor of (Twitter link).
  • Bulls wing Alex Caruso was held out of a recent team practice due to an unspecified illness, but is currently somewhat on the mend, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). That said, he is questionable to play on Friday for Chicago, when they will square off against the Timberwolves. Should Caruso sit, it is likely that reserve forward Patrick Williams would returning to the club’s starting five.

Injury Notes: Brunson, Wagner, Zeller, Mathurin, Kuminga, Duren

X-rays on Jalen Brunson‘s sore left foot were negative, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters before Saturday’s game that Brunson is feeling “a little better” and is considered day-to-day. He added that the injury has officially been diagnosed as a bruise.

“When he’s healthy enough, he goes,” Thibodeau said. “So just do the rehab, talk to the medical people and when he gets cleared, he’s cleared and then he’ll play.”

Brunson has missed three of the team’s last four games, playing just 19 minutes Thursday in Sacramento. The Knicks have now dropped three in a row, and it’s uncertain if Brunson will be available as their road trip continues Sunday against the Lakers and Tuesday vs. the Trail Blazers.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • X-rays on Magic forward Franz Wagner were negative after he left Saturday’s game with a right ankle injury, tweets Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Wagner has been diagnosed with an ankle sprain.
  • Heat center Cody Zeller left the same game with a broken nose after a collision with Orlando’s Jalen Suggs in the first quarter, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami was already missing Caleb Martin, who sat out the game with knee soreness, and Duncan Robinson, who was placed in health and safety protocols.
  • Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin sat out Saturday after spraining his ankle this week and has already been ruled out of Monday’s game, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Coach Rick Carlisle said Tyrese Haliburton, Myles Turner and T.J. McConnell will also be held out Monday.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Jonathan Kuminga is considered day-to-day after spraining his ankle during warmups on Thursday, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Kuminga didn’t play Saturday, but he was on the team’s bench without a walking boot, Slater adds (Twitter link).
  • Pistons rookie center Jalen Duren feels fully recovered from the bilateral ankle soreness that caused him to miss six games, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. “Just being out a couple weeks, I was itching to get back and trying to play and finish out the season strong,” Duren said. “I’ve been working, I don’t know if y’all can tell but I got a little bigger. I feel good.”

Injury Notes: Mathurin, Brunson, Kuminga, Giannis

Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin appeared in each of his team’s first 67 games this season, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be able to suit up for all 82. As Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star writes, Mathurin had to be carried to the locker room after spraining his right ankle in the first quarter of Thursday’s win over Houston, and head coach Rick Carlisle said later in the night that he expects the guard to miss some time.

“It’s gonna look different out there without Benn,” Carlisle said. “… I certainly don’t believe he’ll play either of the Detroit games (on Saturday and Monday.) Other guys will have to be ready.”

Mathurin will likely to be evaluated further on Friday to determine whether he’ll have to be ruled out for a set amount of time or whether the injury will be considered day-to-day. Assuming he does miss multiple games, the Pacers figure to lean more heavily on wings like Aaron Nesmith, Chris Duarte, Jordan Nwora, as Dopirak notes.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, who missed two games due to left foot soreness, returned on Thursday in Sacramento but wasn’t able to finish the game and didn’t come out for the second half, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. “He just re-aggravated it, but I haven’t talked to the medical people yet,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Just soreness.”
  • Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga rolled his ankle during pregame warmups on Thursday and was unavailable vs. Memphis, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. X-rays on the injury were negative, but Kuminga was wearing a boot after the game, according to Madeline Kenney of The Bay Area News Group (Twitter link).
  • After initially being listed as probable with a non-COVID illness, Giannis Antetokounmpo was ruled out for the Bucks‘ game on Thursday due to right hand soreness. Antetokounmpo, who is also dealing with right knee soreness, sprained his right wrist just before the All-Star break, but head coach Mike Budenholzer doesn’t believe the new injury is related to that, per Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think just generally playing and getting hit and stuff like that,” Budenholzer said. “… I don’t think it’s a specific moment or incident or anything like that. We’ll be monitoring and watching it closely.”

NBA Announces Player Pool For Rising Stars Event

The NBA officially unveiled the 28-player pool for this year’s Rising Stars event on Tuesday, making the announcement via the NBA App. The following players made the cut:



G League players:

As was the case last season, the Rising Stars event will consist of four teams and three games. The seven G League players will comprise one team, coached by longtime NBA guard Jason Terry. The other 21 players will be drafted to three squads coached by former NBA stars Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, and Deron Williams.

The four teams will be split into two first-round matchups and the winners of those two games will face one another for the Rising Stars championship. The two semifinals will be played to a target score of 40 points, while the final will be played to a target score of 25 points.

All three contests will take place on Friday, February 17 as part of All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City. The NBA’s full press release with more information on the event can be found right here.

Central Notes: Hayes, Stewart, Mathurin, Mitchell, Bulls

After Killian Hayes put up a season-high 25 points on Wednesday, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic says it’s no longer surprising when the Pistons guard has a big night, adding that it’s time to consider him “a good, solid NBA player.”

Hayes had a couple up-and-down seasons after being selected seventh overall in the 2020 draft, but is still just 21 years old and has been playing the best basketball of his NBA career this fall. Since entering the Pistons’ starting lineup on November 12, Hayes has averaged 11.8 PPG, 6.7 APG, and 3.2 RPG on .424/.400/.733 shooting in 17 games (28.6 MPG).

“He’s not growing on anyone else’s watch. He’s going at his pace, his speed,” Pistons head coach Dwane Casey recently said. “That’s what young players do. Everyone wants him to be that 10-year vet, but, what, he’s in year three? That’s why it’s not surprising me. We just have to be patient. Unfortunately, this league isn’t full of patience. It’s about winning games. But he is growing right before our eyes.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Isaiah Stewart‘s willingness to shift from center to power forward has put him in position to be part of the Pistons‘ frontcourt of the future alongside center Jalen Duren, writes Keith Langlois of “They’re going to grow together,” Casey said of the duo on Wednesday. “They’re going to be together for a long time, so they better like each other. If they don’t, they’re going to be in big trouble because they’re going to be with the organization a long time.”
  • Bob Kravitz of The Athletic profiles Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin, who says he feels like he has “no choice but to be great” due to his desire to provide for his family and influence kids in his hometown of Montreal. The No. 6 overall pick is off to a good start in his quest to become a star, having averaged 17.8 points in his first 29 NBA games.
  • After his Cavaliers got a win in Dallas on Wednesday, Donovan Mitchell reflected on the role the Mavericks played in his current circumstances, writes Chris Fedor of (subscription required). The Mavs’ first-round elimination of the Jazz in last season’s postseason taught Mitchell some important lessons and hastened his Utah exit. “At the end of the day, they’re kind of the reason why I’m in Cleveland,” Mitchell said. “They did a great job in the playoff series. So, I’m thankful. I’m here. I’m glad to be here. Last year made me a better player. You take those lessons, you learn, and you implement them.”
  • With Lonzo Ball‘s availability for this season still up in the air, the Bulls should be trying to find a way to add a proven point guard to their roster, argues Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

And-Ones: Rookie Rankings, MVP Ratings, Tremaglio, Officiating

Top pick Paolo Banchero has missed some games due to an ankle sprain but the top pick of the draft still leads ESPN Jonathan Givony’s rookie power rankings (Insider link). The Magic forward was averaging 21.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game entering the week. The sixth overall pick, the Pacers’ Bennedict Mathurin, sits in second place while averaging 18.5 points off the bench. Pistons guard Jaden Ivey (15.9 points, 4.3 assists) holds the No. 3 spot.

We have more NBA-related info:

  • Celtics forward Jayson Tatum tops USA Today/Gannett staffers’ early-season Most Valuable Player ratings, propelled by Boston’s strong start. Tatum entered Monday’s action ranked fifth in the league in scoring (30.7). Former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo holds the runner-up spot with the Suns’ Devin Booker in third place.
  • Negotiating the Collective Bargaining Agreement for the first time, National Basketball Players Association executive director Tamika Tremaglio is leaning on players agents to determine the best course of action, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal reports. Tremaglio has reached out to all NBPA-certified agents for advice and is having frequent discussions with the most influential agents. One likely point of contention is the NBA’s desire for a stronger upper limit on player salaries, which some agents view as a hard cap.
  • Traveling calls are piling up, culminating in 13 such turnovers during the CavaliersKnicks game on Sunday. Carrying and palming calls are also on the rise. “My job as the head coach — for lack of a better description — of our team, is to make sure that the rule book is being enforced,” the NBA’s senior vice president of referee development and training, Monty McCutchen, said to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “And when we emphasize traveling and sequencing and it picks up another part of footwork, then it needs to be adjudicated properly.”

Bennedict Mathurin, Jalen Williams Named Rookies Of The Month

Pacers reserve swingman Bennedict Mathurin and Thunder wing Jalen Williams have been voted the Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month for October and November, the league announced (Twitter link). Since the 2022/23 regular season only got underway in late October, the partial month was folded into November in this instance.

Drafted with the sixth pick out of Arizona, the 6’6″ Mathurin is averaging 19.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG and 0.6 SPG in 28 MPG off the bench for the 12-9 Pacers.

Williams, the No. 12 selection out of Santa Clara, is averaging 10.7 PPG on 52.4% field goal shooting, along with 3.2 RPG and 2.6 APG for a solid 9-13 Oklahoma City squad.

The NBA adds (via Twitter) that Rockets power forwards Tari Eason and Jabari Smith Jr., Kings power forward Keegan Murray, Trail Blazers rookie guard Shaedon Sharpe, Magic big man Paolo Banchero, Hawks wing AJ Griffin, Pistons guard Jaden Ivey, and Mathurin’s Indiana teammate Andrew Nembhard were also nominees for the honor.

And-Ones: Henderson, Top Offseason Adds, 2022 Re-Draft

G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson, the consensus No. 2 prospect in the 2023 draft class, has been diagnosed with a nose fracture after entering the concussion protocols and missing the team’s last four games, writes Cody Taylor of Rookie Wire.

Although Henderson has already been sidelined since November 18, the injury isn’t considered a long-term one and he’s being listed as day-to-day for the time being. According to Taylor, there’s a chance Henderson will be cleared to return on Sunday when the Ignite host the South Bay Lakers.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world: