Tyrese Haliburton’s status unknown after Pacers star left Game 2 with hamstring injury

BOSTON — The Indiana Pacers are not only in an 0-2 hole to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the team is now awaiting word on star guard Tyrese Haliburton. The two-time All-Star left Thursday night’s Game 2 loss in Boston with a hamstring injury, putting his status for the rest of the series in question.

Haliburton injured himself with just over six minutes left in the third quarter Thursday night while trying to defend Jayson Tatum. He took an awkward step while sliding with the C’s forward, and grimaced in pain as he stumbled. He remained in the game and even brought the ball up the court on Indiana’s next possession, but did not return after limping to the locker room with three minuets left in the quarter.

The Pacers ruled him out a short time later, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Haliburton was dealing with left hamstring soreness. That’s especially worrisome for the Pacers, as Haliburton missed 10 games during the regular season with a hamstring issue.

Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle didn’t have much on Haliburton’s status after the game, but said that the hamstring was bothering his star point guard at halftime.

“He gave it a shot and gave it all the effort that he could,” said Carlisle. “It wasn’t going well. So the trainers determined that he needed to go to the back and get worked on.”

The Pacers are hoping for good news on Friday, as the series shifts to Indiana for Game 3 on Saturday.

In his 28 minutes in Game 2, Haliburton scored 10 points and dished out eight assists. He was a real thorn in Boston’s side in Game 1, draining six threes on his way to 25 points to go with 10 assists, three rebounds, and three steals.

Losing Haliburton for any time would be a huge blow to the Pacers and another big break for the Celtics, who didn’t have to deal with Donovan Mitchell in their final two games of their second-round series win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. If Haliburton is forced out of the lineup, the Pacers will rely heavily on Andrew Nembhard (16 points in Game 2) and TJ McConnell (9 points) going forward.

But not having their star player would make an uphill battle even tougher, as the Pacers now need to win four of their next five games against a Celtics team that is determined to win a title this season.

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