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Pacers’ Chris Duarte to play on Friday after 2 game absence

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Indiana Pacers rookie Chris Duarte will play on Friday night versus the Charlotte Hornets after missing two games with shoulder soreness, head coach Rick Carlisle said prior to the contest.

Duarte initially suffered the injury on Nov. 1 against the San Antonio Spurs. He played through it, but the team eventually opted to hold him out this week. The team was hopeful the injury wouldn’t cost him too much time as they will now have him back on Friday.

The 13th overall pick has emerged as a key player for the Pacers to start the season. He had started in every game prior to sitting on Monday, averaging 14.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 40.3% shooting from 3-point range. He ranks fourth in scoring among rookies.

Carlisle explained what the Pacers missed without him in the lineup.

He is one of our best players on metrics. He is a top-five on analytics with his impact offensively and defensively. You miss a lot of things. He is a guy that is a consistent shot-maker. He has been a very good on-ball defender. He rebounds well from the perimeter position. There are a lot of things. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily one thing. It is also having one of our better athletes in the lineup as well.

The Pacers have certainly liked what Duarte has brought to the floor. He has given the team a strong scoring option, and Carlisle believes he has also played well on the defensive side of the ball. He has played a huge role with the team and has contributed on a nightly basis.

Indiana lost its two games without Duarte so the team will hope his return can ensure they get back in the win column.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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