The Indiana Pacers have had a surprising 2022-23 season, thanks in large part to Tyrese Haliburton’s emergence as the heir apparent to the Point God moniker. Through 40 games, Haliburton has averaged 20.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 10.2 dimes to lead the way for the upstart Pacers as they try to make the leap from rebuilders to playoff contenders. However, Haliburton suffered a knee and elbow injury on January 11 against the New York Knicks, putting a damper on what has been a strong season thus far.
In fact, the Pacers have fallen off a cliff with Tyrese Haliburton on the mend for at least two weeks. They have lost their past four games without Haliburton in the lineup, three of those by double digits. The Pacers have now fallen to ninth in the Eastern Conference as a result. And it may take two more weeks before Indiana’s talisman returns.
Speaking on JJ Redick’s Old Man and The Three podcast, Haliburton revealed that he’s targeting the start of February as his return date, which further complicates the Pacers’ trade deadline plans.
“Re-evaluate at the end of the month… Hopefully in the next 11, 12 days I feel better and I can get back to start February. That’s the goal,” Haliburton said, per Tony East of Sports Illustrated Pacers.
The Pacers are definitely in danger of falling even further in the Eastern Conference, with Tyrese Haliburton set to miss at least six more games after taking into account his target return date.
Perhaps Indiana, in the aftermath of losing their best player, could revisit trade talks for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield with the trade deadline approaching. Or perhaps this could motivate the Pacers to swing a blockbuster trade for someone like John Collins to stem the tide without Haliburton.
Out of the Pacers’ next six games – three of those are against bonafide contenders in the Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies, and Milwaukee Bucks. In addition, two of those are against teams with playoff aspirations, such as the Phoenix Suns and the Chicago Bulls, while the only game against a non play-in/playoff team is against the Orlando Magic, not exactly a cakewalk opponent.
Nevertheless, the Pacers have surpassed expectations before; they are more than capable of continuing to shock the world by holding the fort with Haliburton out.