The Dallas Mavericks have been without the services of star forward Luka Doncic for the last week after he suffered a sprained right ankle. The team has remained mum about his recovery, which had put a cloud over his return date. However, his recent uptick in on-court activity has now led the Mavericks to officially put a timetable for him to be back on the court, and it’s a lot sooner than expected.
Luka Doncic’s injury
In his second season in the league, Doncic has made some significant strides forward as he has quickly proven to be one of the best talents.
The 20-year-old has gotten off to a tremendous start behind career-best numbers across the board, ranking third with 29.3 points and 8.9 assists along with 9.6 rebounds per contest on 48.1% shooting from the floor. His production, combined with the Mavericks’ strong start out of the gate, has thrust him into the midst of the MVP conversation.
However, Doncic suffered a setback against the Miami Heat on Dec. 14 as he sprained his ankle in the loss. That has put him out of action for nearly two weeks, which the Mavericks hold a 2-2 record over the four games he has been sidelined up to this point.
Things have continued to move in a positive direction with his recovery that has pushed Dallas to make a significant declaration with his status.
Mavs set Luka Doncic’s return date
Given the type of injury that Doncic is dealing with, there is no exact timetable for a full recovery from the injury. It is typically one that takes a few weeks, given that it’s something that can be reaggravated if not appropriately handled.
In Doncic’s case, he has continued to make promising progress in his rehab that has seen him go through on-court workouts without a hitch. It looks like the Mavericks have now given Doncic the green light as he’s in line to play in Thursday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
That is quite surprising given that he had suffered the injury less than two weeks ago, which is well ahead of any expected timeframe. Although he is back in the mix, Dallas will likely take the precautionary approach on Thursday night by limiting him his minutes so that he’s not overworked in his first game back.
The Mavericks have an upcoming back-to-back road set after Thursday’s contest as they play Golden State Warriors on Saturday and the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. He likely sits one of those two contests to keep him from getting overloaded physically.
Mavericks’ 2019-20 season outlook
Behind Doncic’s stellar play, the Mavericks have proven that they are one of the top teams in the stacked Western Conference. Although the likes of the L.A. Clippers and Lakers are firmly ahead of them at this point, they are certainly a potential dark horse team in the conference.
Doncic is the driving force of the franchise, which at least gives them a chance to make some noise in the West while getting back into the playoff picture after missing it altogether over the past couple of years. The Mavericks will need much more than their star forward to head the charge as the hope is that Kristaps Porzingis can help them form a dynamic 1-2 punch.
Over the first few months of the season, Porzinigis has struggled to garner any significant footing offensively. Still, he picked up the pace a bit in Doncic’s absence as he has poured in a double-double in each contest while topping 20 points three times during the stretch. If Dallas hopes to take the next step, they will need the 24-year-old to provide strong secondary scoring punch well beyond what he’s showing right now.
Nonetheless, the Mavericks’ future is quite bright with Doncic leading the way.