Haliburton status in limbo with season on brink

NBA

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Indiana Pacers All-NBA guard Tyrese Haliburton missed Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night because of a hamstring strain.

Haliburton’s availability for Game 4 on Monday is also in serious question, sources told ESPN.

The Pacers and Haliburton will reassess the strain ahead of Game 4 before making a final decision on his ability to play, sources said. The Pacers intend to err on the side of caution with their franchise star’s injury.

“Tyrese very much wants to play,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said before Game 3 in Indianapolis. “He desperately wants to play. But the decision on tonight was taken out of his hands earlier in the day. It was determined that tonight was not an option. He is feeling better; we’ll see where he is on Monday.”

Boston leads the best-of-seven series 2-0, and the loss of Haliburton looms large for the Pacers’ chances of getting back into this series.

Haliburton — who missed 10 games in January with the same injury — aggravated the hamstring in Thursday’s Game 2 loss to the Celtics in Boston.

Haliburton averaged 20.1 points and a league-leading 10.9 assists in a regular season that earned him third-team All-NBA honors. The Pacers are plus-59 with Haliburton on the floor this season and minus-35 without him, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Meanwhile, Celtics guard Jrue Holiday was cleared to play about 10 minutes before tipoff after being downgraded to questionable with a non-COVID illness earlier Saturday. Backup big man Luke Kornet was ruled out with a wrist injury. Kristaps Porzingis (calf) remains out.

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