Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic may have reaggravated his knee injury at a Nov. 22 practice, causing him to slam the bleachers in frustration.
Things looked good a week later, as Doncic was on the court at a Monday practice with the Mavs.
A few moments later, Doncic screamed in pain and left the floor. Doncic headed for the bleachers and clutched his left knee, slamming the bleachers in frustration. The 22-year-old phenom left the bleachers a few minutes later, pressing ice against his injured knee.
Luke Doncic likely to miss fourth game with knee injury
The injury setback was significant, as Doncic has now been out for three straight games. The Mavericks have lost every game without him so far, going from 9-4 to 9-7 as they rank No. 5 in the Western Conference. If the Mavericks continue to plummet for an extended period of time, losing a player like Doncic could easily cause them to miss out on playoffs.
Before the season began, Dallas signed Doncic to a five-year, $207 million rookie supermax extension. The contract is not only a financial one, but a temporal one: the Mavericks expect Doncic to be the centerpiece of their team for years to come.
While Kristaps Porzingis has been holding down the fort on offense, the absence of Doncic means the Mavs lack an effective closer in close games. With Doncic, it’s likely the Mavs would have won Nov. 17 Suns game and their Nov. 21 Clippers game, which would have put them at 11-5. That would have put them ahead of the Utah Jazz at 11-6, which is why an early slip in the rankings could mean a complete downfall if Doncic is gone for long.
With the exact nature of his injury is unclear and his timeline uncertain, Doncic being day-to-day means he could come back at any moment. If the Mavs want to stay in the running, they’ll need the NBA’s best player under 25 to return soon.