The Miami Heat lost one of its core players during the team’s 104-87 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night.
The Heat reported that Jaime Jaquez Jr. was ruled out for the remainder of the game after suffering a left groin strain.
Prior to the injury, the rookie had 15 points, five rebounds, and two assists in 14 minutes of action. Jaquez had recorded the highest-scoring quarter of his young career so far, as the forward scored all 15 of his points in the first.
The 2023 first-round draft pick has become a focal point for Miami over the past few weeks. Jaquez has started 11 of the last 12 games for a Heat team that has featured 21 different starting lineups this year. The forward is the only player on Miami’s roster to appear in all 39 contests this season. Jaquez has done an exceptional job stepping into the starting lineup for the injured Jimmy Butler, who has been sidelined with a toe injury.
The 22-year-old’s production has increased alongside his role. The forward is averaging 16.3 PPG since becoming a regular starter. The one game that Jaquez didn’t reach double-digits was, unsurprisingly, the one game that he didn’t start.
Haywood Highsmith and Duncan Robinson both saw an increase in minutes after Jaquez left Sunday’s contest. Multiple players have been forced to step up due to injuries plaguing the Heat this season. Miami could look towards their depth yet again if Jaquez is forced to miss an extended period of time due to injury.