An entire fan base held its collective breath in the Kings' narrow 122-119 loss to the Houston Rockets on the road Thursday. In the early fourth quarter, prized rookie Tyrese Haliburton went up for a layup and ended up in a heap under the basket.
The training staff came out as the 20-year-old flexed his wrist and made sure that the rest of his body parts were intact.
Somehow, Haliburton stayed in the game until the Kings could get him off the court and make sure he could continue. The former Iowa State star even returned to the court down the stretch and came up with a tremendous 3-pointer to give his team a shot at a comeback.
Following the made bucket, Haliburton glanced at the Rockets bench, where former Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins had barked in his ear in an attempt to distract the first-year guard.
According to coach Luke Walton, Haliburton was in the training room getting looked at after the game, but the early prognosis was good.
“To my knowledge, he’s OK," Walton said Thursday after the loss. “He told me multiple times he's OK. As I walked in here, he’s in the training room. Obviously, that was a pretty hard fall.”
Walton said he believes that Haliburton will be fine, but he was in noticeable discomfort down the stretch, grabbing at his lower back on his right side.
Haliburton missed time in his sophomore year at Iowa State with a broken wrist, but he appears to have avoided a major setback.
He’ll ring in the new year in a giant vat of ice and hopefully he is available to suit up when the Kings face the Rockets again Saturday at the Toyota Center to open 2021.
The Kings likely will get their second glimpses at Cousins and John Wall, after the pair made their long-awaited season debuts Thursday.
Wall hadn’t played in an NBA game since tearing his Achilles tendon in December of 2018. It has been a long road back for the five-time All-Star point guard, but he looked good in his return. Wall scored 22 points (on 8-of-20 shooting) Thursday, adding nine assists, six rebounds a block and a steal.
Cousins, who spent parts of seven seasons in Sacraento, missed all of last season with a torn ACL. This was the latest injury for the four-time All-Star center, who has also worked through a torn Achilles and torn quadriceps injury over the last two years.
Big Cuz wasn’t as effective as Wall, but he scored eight points and dished out three assists in 14 minutes. It’s the first step back for the 30-year-old center, who could be an impact player for the Rockets if he can stay on the court.