The Dallas Mavericks have raced off to a promising start to the 2019-20 season, holding one of the top records in the stacked Western Conference. A significant reason for their success has been the stellar play of second-year forward Luka Doncic, who has quickly established himself as one of the top players in the league. However, Doncic suffered a setback after a high-ankle sprain against the Miami Heat on Saturday night. There is now some clarity around his expected return to the court.
Luka Doncic’s breakout campaign
Throughout the first quarter of the season, Doncic has put forth some stellar performances along the way.
The 20-year-old has become the driving force for the Mavericks’ success on the court, pushing their way towards holding the third-best record in the Western Conference. Doncic is off to a career-best pace, averaging a near triple-double by ranking third with 29.3 points and 8.9 assists, and 9.6 rebounds per contest.
He has also set numerous NBA records along the way, such as recently breaking Hall of Famer Michael Jordan’s feat with 19 straight games with at least 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Meanwhile, he also holds the league mark with 16 triple-doubles before reaching age 21.
Doncic has proven to be more than the real deal in his second campaign, which he has earned much recognition being in the thick of the early-season MVP race. That chatter was halted a bit after he suffered an ankle injury that could see him miss some extended time on the floor.
Mavs outline Luka Doncic timetable for return
The Mavericks have begun to hit their stride over the last few weeks, winning seven out of their previous 10 games.
However, Dallas was handed a significant blow with Doncic suffering a right ankle sprain during Saturday’s loss to the Heat. According to Tim McMahon of ESPN, the second-year forward is expected to miss a couple of weeks.
Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic might be able to return within a couple of weeks after suffering a moderate right ankle sprain, league sources told ESPN on Sunday.
The Mavericks will likely take the precautionary route with their star forward as it’s an injury that could linger if not handled correctly. The team has a lot riding on Doncic’s shoulders as he has been the driving force on the court as their primary scorer and playmaker as a passer.
His absence does switch things up a bit for Dallas to alter their game plan around their other talent.
Mavs’ plan without Luka Doncic
The Mavericks are in a tight spot without their star forward for the next couple of weeks. That places a great deal of pressure on the rest of the roster to fill that massive void.
It also sets up a prime opportunity for All-Star forward Kristaps Porzingis to step into the No.1 scoring option role. Porzingis has struggled with his scoring efficiency next to Doncic this season, averaging just 16.8 points on 39.7% from the floor and 32.6% from beyond the arc. He has picked up in the last two games with back-to-back 20-point outings.
The Mavericks will need Porzingis to be their leading offensive factor on the floor and play closer to his 22.7 points per game production that he had in his final season with the New York Knicks. Meanwhile, guards J.J. Barea and Jalen Brunson will play in extended roles to garner more ball-handling duties.
Dallas will need a collective effort to stir the ship while Doncic is on the mend. They have a tough remaining schedule for December, taking the road six times in the last eight games. It also features tough matchups against the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors. The Mavericks have a gauntlet of games left this month that could foreseeably see a rough next two weeks without Doncic in the fold.