Luka Doncic played just five minutes of basketball during the Dallas Mavericks’ 127-123 loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday.
Coming into the outing many hoped to see Doncic play against his old club for an extended stretch. Unfortunately, he wound up virtually not playing at all.
Instead, Tim Hardaway Jr. led the way for his side with 21 points as the Mavericks saw their preseason record fall to 0-3.
So why couldn’t Doncic play against Real Madrid for more than five minutes?
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, it all came down to health.
“The Mavericks tell [Bally Sports Southwest] they will have to limit Luka Doncic to roughly five minutes of playing time in his Real Madrid homecoming game due to a left calf strain,” Stein noted.
“Doncic desperately wanted to play more, I’m told, but Dallas established this limit to be ultra cautious.”
The calf doesn’t appear to be Doncic’s only issue, though.
“Doncic said he couldn’t play more minutes because he was bothered by some hip pain he started feeling in training on Monday,” ESPN reported late Tuesday night.
It goes without saying that Doncic has had a busy summer. In addition to losing a ton of weight and getting engaged to his longtime girlfriend, he also played for his national team in the FIBA World Cup.
Understandably, he is now not as fresh as some of his counterparts who rested up over the past few months.
The question now is how quickly he will be able to heal up.
Ja Morant found himself at the center of a really bizarre scheme. The messages speak for themselves:https://t.co/rVAm3KYDFe
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 11, 2023
Last season, the Mavericks were one of the league’s most disappointing teams. They went from a conference finals appearance to not making the playoffs altogether.
History cannot repeat itself in 2023-24.
Will Doncic be able to get healthy and put the Mavericks back on track for long-term success this season? Time will tell.
A graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.