MVP candidate avoids major injury during Boston Celtics' loss to Pacers

An MVP candidate avoided major injury during the Boston Celtics' loss to the Indiana Pacers on January 8.
Jan 8, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) is carried off
Jan 8, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) is carried off / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

MVP candidate Tyrese Haliburton avoided a major injury during the Indiana Pacers' January 8 victory over the Boston Celtics at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse -- something not many expected after the point guard nearly did a full split while slipping on a wet floor during a drive to the rim with 3:11 left in the second quarter.

"Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton has a Grade 1 left hamstring strain, an MRI revealed on Tuesday, sources tell ESPN," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski prefaced before saying, "He’s expected to be re-evaluated in approximately two weeks but there’s relief that he’s avoided serious injury."

Haliburton's absence opened the door for TJ McConnell (12 points, seven assists, four rebounds in 25 minutes) to step up and be the backcourt hero the Pacers needed to win. Well, McConnell and a bit of help from the referees...

Jaylen Brown rips refs for late overturned challenge call in Boston Celtics loss to Pacers

Buddy Hield clearly fouled Jaylen Brown with the game tied and three seconds on the clock, but the play was challenged and the call was overturned. For robbing the Cs with one of the NBA officiating crew's worst moments of the 2023-24 season, the refs got ripped for it.

"I think he obviously hit me in the head," Brown said (h/t CBS Sports). "I think they definitely need to do some investigation, that's all I'm going to say. I think that was an obvious one. I've never heard of head, part of the ball. It doesn't make any sense to me. I went up and asked like, 'Did I get hit in the head?' [The official] looks me straight in the face and he says, 'No, you didn't get hit in the head.' I'm like, 'OK.' Then you come down on the other end, that cost our team the game. Then you expect us not to be frustrated. We're trying to build good habits. We're trying to win as many games as possible, and we just dropped one because of that.

"I feel like we have the right to be upset. The league should understand. Of course, we're going to say something about it after the game. So I don't think there should be any fines. But I definitely think that one should be investigated."

What comes of this isn't clear, but the Celtics now have one more loss on their record than they perhaps should've had. The only silver lining from the entire game for Cs fans -- besides Boston holding strong with Jayson Tatum absent from the lineup -- was Haliburton's health not being compromised from the contest.