Standout Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton escapes ligament damage, season likely done

Jason Owens
·2-min read
Sacramento Kings' Tyrese Haliburton suffers an unknown leg injury during an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Sunday, May 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
An awkward knee injury prompted concerns that Haliburton had suffered significant damage. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton suffered a non-contact knee injury on Sunday, raising concerns that he endured significant damage.

The Kings announced on Tuesday that an MRI revealed that Haliburton escaped ligament damage, but that his standout rookie campaign is likely done. He suffered a hyperextension that won't require surgery and is expected to make a full recovery in time for offseason training. 

Injury looked worse than it was

Haliburton suffered the injury during the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Dallas Mavericks. As he crossed halfcourt with the ball, his left knee buckled, and he collapsed to the court in pain. He required help off the court and did not return to the game. 

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Results of an MRI were expected Monday. When they weren't made public, concern lingered that Haliburton was dealing with something serious. While the early end to his season is disappointing, Tuesday's news is overwhelmingly good considering the alternative. 

Haliburton wraps impressive rookie season

Haliburton finishes his rookie season with averages of 13 points, 5.3 assists, three rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 47.2% from the field and 40.9% from three-point distance. He was considered a draft-night steal when he slid to the Kings with the No. 12 pick November's draft. He more than lived up to that designation on the court, challenging LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards in the Rookie of the Year campaign. 

The early end to his season all but shuts the door on his long-shot status for the award, but the Kings can feel confident they've added a difference-maker in the backcourt alongside fourth-year pro De'Aaron Fox.

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