After Luka Doncic went down with an ankle sprain early in Saturday night’s battle against the Miami Heat, attention quickly shifted to the severity of the reigning Rookie of the Year’s injury. X-rays were negative on Doncic’s right ankle, and Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said Doncic was unlikely to play in Monday’s win with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, which Luka missed due to the injury.
Doncic, diagnosed with a moderate ankle sprain, was able to put some weight on his foot when he left the arena after the game. There was optimism within the organization that the injury wasn’t too severe, per the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend, and that optimism might be correct as Dallas expects Doncic to only miss a couple weeks, as reported by ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
Instead of traveling with the team to Milwaukee, Doncic received treatment in Dallas, and could be back soon after Christmas, per Townsend. Carlisle provided an update on Luka’s health before Monday’s game against the Bucks.
“He is responding well to treatment,” Carlisle said according to Malika Andrews of ESPN. “He is progressing well.”
“If there is an update, it will be Wednesday night,” Carlisle said. “It might not be much of an update at that point, but he’s doing well.”
With just over 10 minutes left in the first quarter against Miami, Doncic drove to the basket and appeared to step on the foot of Heat rookie Kendrick Nunn. Doncic immediately fell into the stands, where he lay for several minutes before limping back to the locker room.
According to several reports, the American Airlines Center was nearly silent while Doncic was on the ground tending to his injury.
The reigning Rookie of the Year, Doncic has taken his game to stratospheric levels this season, averaging 30.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 9.4 assists heading into Saturday’s game. He also trails only Rockets guard James Harden and Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in usage rate, so it’s a devastating blow to the Mavericks to lose Doncic for any amount of time, especially given the games they have coming up on their schedule.
Doncic is in the middle of an MVP-caliber season and has led the Mavericks to one of the best records in the NBA. With him sidelined, the bulk of the scoring burden will fall on Kristaps Porzingis, with guards Delon Wright, Seth Curry, Jalen Brunson and JJ Barea likely taking on more of the ball-handling duties.
On Monday, at least, the Mavericks looked well-equipped to handle his absence. They stunned the Milwaukee Bucks, owners of an 18-game winning streak, in a 120-116 victory. Curry, Brunson and Wright filled in as ball-handlers admirably, and Porzingis had arguably his best two-way game as a Maverick by scoring 26 points and providing dominant defense against Antetokounmpo. Dallas would still like Doncic back as quickly as possible, but at least they have the depth to weather the storm without him for a little while.
Courtesy: CBS Sports