Good news, bad news.
After dragging out the news cycle an extra day and half, the Sacramento Kings finally released the MRI results for rookie point guard Tyrese Haliburton’s injured left knee minutes after the team’s 103-99 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
While the win marked the third straight for the inconsistent Kings, the real victory is that Haliburton didn’t damage any ligaments in his scary fall on Sunday. An MRI confirmed that the 21-year-old has a hyperextension of the left knee, which will not require surgery.
“Finding out that Tyrese is going to be fine is clearly great news for us, considering what a great offseason this going to be for him,” Walton said. “All and all, it’s a good night for Sacramento.”
The bad news is that Haliburton will likely miss the remainder of the season due to the injury, although there are only seven games left on the schedule.
“I don’t look at it as a blow, I look at it as good news,” Walton said. “I think a lot of us were scared when we saw it happen. It didn’t look great. It’s good news that we got and we’ll miss him down the stretch this season, but for him to have a full, healthy offseason to really get after, it is going to be huge for us.”
Haliburton made major strides throughout the year and was on a tear at the time of the injury. He’ll get a summer to focus on getting stronger and building body mass to survive the rigors of an 82-game schedule next season.
With his season almost guaranteed to be over, Haliburton finished the year averaging 13 points, 5.3 assists, three rebounds and 1.3 steals in 30.1 minutes per game.
Haliburton played in 58 games this season for the Kings, including 20 starts. He shot 47.2 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from 3-point range.
The former Iowa State star probably didn’t do enough to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award, he took home two Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards and should have no problem making the league’s All-Rookie first team.
With Haliburton out of action, veteran Delon Wright will continue to get the bulk of the minutes at the point unless De’Aaron Fox is able to return to action. Fox missed his sixth straight game while sitting back in Sacramento in the league’s health and safety protocols.
With the win over the Thunder, the Kings moved within 3.5 games for the No. 10 spot in the Western Conference standings with seven games remaining in the season. They still have a shot at the NBA’s play-in tournament, but without Haliburton, that road won’t be easy.