Luka Doncic suffers calf injury and is not likely to play in Mavericks’ playoff opener

Luka Doncic is unlikely to play vs. Utah Jazz due to left calf strain
Dallas Mavericks' Marquese Chriss and a member of the staff check on guard Luka Doncic (77) who suffered an unknown lower leg injury in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Sunday, April 10, 2022, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Despite the victory over the San Antonio Spurs, the Dallas Mavericks secured the fourth seed in the Western Conference heading into the NBA playoffs, but Luka Doncic may not be physically ready once Game 1 of the series against the Utah Jazz arrives this weekend. After leaving the game with clear agony in his left calf near the end of the third quarter, the Slovenian did not return to the court.

Luka Doncic is unlikely to play vs. Utah Jazz due to left calf strain
Dallas Mavericks’ Marquese Chriss and a member of the staff check on guard Luka Doncic (77) who suffered an unknown lower leg injury in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Sunday, April 10, 2022, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Luka Doncic’s current physical condition

Doncic underwent an MRI scan to determine the severity of his injury, and the only information available so far is that he is wearing a protective boot around the injured area on his left leg; this might be for simple precaution or because the damage is more serious than expected.

The 23-year-old forward will have about a week to recuperate if it is a mild sprain, with Game 1 of the Dallas-Utah series taking place this Saturday. Otherwise, the usual minimum recovery period for this type of injury is at least two weeks, with the possibility of it extending up to a full month or even longer. This injury undoubtedly came at the worst time of the season for the Mavericks.

Doncic is undoubtedly the leader of the Jason Kidd-led team, averaging 28.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.2 steals with 45.7% efficiency from the field, 35.3% in three-pointers through 65 games in the 2021-2022 edition of the NBA, along with his third selection to the All-Star Game. Their performance and leadership is the main reason Dallas secured fourth place with a 52-30 record and had a chance to take third place in the standings from the Golden State Warriors (53-29) during the final games of the regular season.

Dallas Mavericks’ Jalen Brunson (13) and Luka Doncic stand down court during an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Friday, April 8, 2022, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

If Doncic misses time in the playoffs, the Mavs will put more emphasis on point guards Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie, hoping that they can fill in for Luka’s scoring and playmaking against the Utah Jazz, who don’t have the strongest perimeter defense in the league.

If they were to lose Luka Doncic, would the Dallas Mavericks have a chance to advance? Or would they be eliminated by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs?

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