Sacramento Kings Rookie of the Year candidate Tyrese Haliburton exits game early with left knee injury

DALLAS -- Sacramento Kings rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton suffered a left knee injury that forced him to exit Sunday's game against the Dallas Mavericks in the third quarter.

Haliburton will have an MRI on Monday, according to coach Luke Walton. There's initial optimism he might have avoided a serious injury, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

"We'll hope for the best," Walton said. "We won't know anything until tomorrow. We'll find out after the MRI.

"I'm not going to guess on it. ... We're very hopeful that it's not (serious), but there's no reason for me to guess right now."

Haliburton, a Rookie of the Year candidate, appeared to hyperextend his left leg while making a behind-the-back move while dribbling the ball up the court. He clipped feet with Dallas guard Josh Richardson, causing Haliburton to land awkwardly on his next step.

Haliburton lost the ball because of the injury, painfully hobbling a couple of steps on his right leg before falling face-first near the scorer's table. He was eventually helped to his feet and limped to the locker room for further evaluation before being ruled out for the rest of the game minutes later. The Kings went on to win 111-99, giving them a season sweep of the playoff-contending Mavs.

Haliburton, the No. 12 pick in the 2020 NBA draft, has averaged 13.0 points and 5.3 assists during his rookie year, quickly becoming considered a franchise cornerstone for the Kings alongside point guard De'Aaron Fox.