Haliburton’s injuries were revealed by an MRI on Thursday, but it sounds like the results might be somewhat inconclusive — the Pacers say they’re waiting for a second opinion.
As ESPN’s Tim Bontemps wrote this morning, Haliburton left Madison Square Garden on crutches after Wednesday’s loss to the Knicks. With just over two-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter, Haliburton drove to the basket for a layup attempt and lost his right shoe while falling awkwardly to the court (video link). He exited the game and did not return.
The Pacers, viewed during the preseason as one of the East’s worst teams, have significantly exceeded outside expectations so far in 2022/23. Their 23-19 record puts them in a tie with New York for the No. 6 seed in the conference, and Haliburton has been a huge part of that success.
Through 40 games (33.4 minutes), the third-year point guard has made a strong case for an All-Star spot, averaging 20.2 points, a league-leading 10.2 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals on .480/.399/.880 shooting.
No one player will be able to replace Haliburton’s production, but the Pacers do have other capable ball-handlers.
Andrew Nembhard, the 31st pick of last June’s draft, has started 28 games alongside Haliburton and has performed well as a complementary play-maker, but he was a primary initiator in college. Indiana also has T.J. McConnell, a solid backup point guard. Both players should see an uptick in minutes and touches.