MILWAUKEE -- Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton will not play on Thursday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, and will miss at least the next three games due to an ankle injury, head coach Rick Carlisle confirmed during his pre-game media press conference. 

"Tyrese's ankle, it's gonna be a while, Carlisle said. "Not gonna give a timetable, but he will definitely not play any of the next three games, I'm certain of that."

Carlisle added that the injury happened during practice. 

Haliburton, who made his first All-Star Game appearance last month, has been the Pacers' best player all season long. His 20.8 points and 10.4 assists per game are both career-high marks, and he's shooting 48.8 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from 3-point land. He is one of four players in the league averaging at least 20 points and 10 assists, along with James Harden, Nikola Jokic and Trae Young; of those four, Haliburton turns the ball over the least and is second only to Jokic in efficiency. 

His impact on the Pacers in his first full season with the club has been immense. In the 54 games that he's played, the Pacers are 28-26; in the 15 games he's missed due to injury they are 3-12. If he had stayed healthy for the entire season, they likely would have finished right around .500 and been in the mix to get back in the playoffs for the first time since 2020. But because of his health problems, they're stuck in 12th place in the Eastern Conference at 31-38, one game behind the 10th place Washington Wizards

Based on how Carlisle was talking, it seems likely that Haliburton could miss more than just three games. Regardless, their play-in hopes are now hanging by a thread. This simply isn't a good team without their scoring and passing leader, and they have a difficult closing schedule that includes seven more games against the top-five teams in the Eastern Conference.