In news that’s slightly better than first feared, Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic is likely to be able to return within a couple of weeks after suffering a moderate right ankle sprain during a 122-118 loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday.
Doncic injured the ankle early in the game when he appeared to step on Heat rookie Kendrick Nunn’s foot while attempting a drive to the basket. Doncic could not run back on defense, and exited the game with 10:20 remaining in the opening quarter. He hobbled to the locker room, but X-rays came back negative for any break or fracture to the ankle.
“Luka Doncic will not travel to Milwaukee due to a right ankle sprain,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said in a text message to several reporters Sunday. “He will stay in Dallas with [Mavs director of player health and performance] Casey Smith and receive treatment. There will be no further updates until Wednesday night.”
Doncic – who is still only 20-years-old – has roared in to the MVP race this season thanks to ridiculous per game averages of 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.9 assists whilst leading the league in triple-doubles with eight.
Prior to the game against the Heat, Doncic had torched the Pistons in Mexico City on Thursday with a 41-point triple-double. His streak of 20 consecutive games with at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists – second only to Oscar Robertson – unfortunately came to an end with the game against Miami.
While the Mavericks had feared the injury might be worse, so in a sense this diagnosis is a positive, it couldn’t really have come at a worse time. Dallas will face a series of Eastern Conference powerhouses over the next eight days, with the team scheduled to play the Bucks, Celtics, 76ers and Raptors over that span.
The Mavericks have won 11 of their past 13 games, but will now be forced to give backup point guards Jalen Brunson and JJ Barea expanded minutes. The two combined for 30 points and 13 assists in the overtime loss to Miami, while Delon Wright will continue to receive increasing minutes as he recovers from a right adductor strain.
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