The Dallas Mavericks saw their worst nightmare become a reality this past week when Luka Doncic got hurt in their regular season finale.
During Sunday’s 130-120 win over the San Antonio Spurs, Doncic suffered a calf strain that immediately made many question his availability for the looming playoffs.
After some initial optimism from the team, reality has begun to set in ahead of Dallas’ first-round series against the Utah Jazz.
As noted by ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, things aren’t looking good for the Mavericks right now.
“There’s a lot of concern around how quickly Luka Doncic will be available in this playoff series against Utah,” he said.
“If this were the regular season, you wouldn’t even talk about Luka Doncic playing games this weekend. But it’s the postseason and a Dallas team that is built so much around Luka. This calf strain is a little more than a mild strain. They’re going to keep working on him around the clock…
“The hope is he will play in the series, but there’s uncertainty on whether he will be on the floor when the series starts on Saturday.”
This past season Doncic averaged 28.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game while shooting a career-best 35.3 percent from three-point range. The Mavericks will only go as far as he carries them in the playoffs.
Which is why this injury is so disastrous.
Now that’s how you reward a man for making the playoffs. https://t.co/oG6QSemhCE
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 14, 2022
That being said – they’re still very talented. Talented enough to beat a Mavericks squad boasting a healthy Doncic, and definitely talented enough to beat one without their best player playing at 100 percent.
Watch this space. Not only is Doncic’s availability going to be a major story over the next 48 hours, but even if he is able to play, it’s worth monitoring how effective he can actually be.