Long-Term Concerns about Luka Doncic's Ankle Arise for the Mavericks
It's no secret that Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic wants to play, but the question is whether the Mavericks should have done more to keep him off the court when he was so desperate to return from an ankle injury in mid-November.
Remember, Doncic landed awkwardly on his ankle and limped off the court in a home win over Denver on November 15 after scoring 23 points in just over 37 minutes of action.
When it was revealed that the injury did not require surgery, the Mavericksandmdash;and indeed, the entire NBAandmdash;breathed a sigh of relief.
Doncic returned to the court in Los Angeles after just three games (all losses) and six days of rest, helping the Mavs to a much-needed win over the Clippers, the team's current archrival.
At first, it appeared to be a wise decision, as Doncic averaged 28.0 points, 10.8 assists, and 6.8 rebounds over his next three games, while shooting 50.6 percent from the field.
Since then, Doncic has performed admirably when he has been on the court, but he has been hampered by ankle pain.
He re-injured his ankle against Indiana on December 10 and tried to play through it, admitting that he probably should have left the game after the third quarter.
"I twisted it once more," Doncic explained.
"I probably shouldn't have played in the fourth quarter because I wasn't feeling well, but I tried to be out there and we'll see what happens tomorrow."
Doncic had previously stated that he was not feeling 100 percent due to an ankle injury.
On December 7, Doncic revealed that he was suffering from pain.
"It's still painful," Doncic said, "but I try to play and practice."
"However, it is still painful."
The good news for the Mavericks is that in their last two games, wins over Oklahoma City and Charlotte, the team has finally played well without Doncic.
Sure, OKC is one of the worst teams in the NBA, with an 8-18 record, and yes, Charlotte is still recovering from a COVID-19 outbreak and is on a 2-6 run, but the Mavericks won both games convincingly, defeating Charlotte by 24 points and the Thunder by 19.
Doncic has always tried to get in shape in the first few months of the year.
"I had the Olympics, took three weeks off, and I relaxed a little bit. Maybe too much. I just have to get back on track," Doncic explained.
But, with an ankle injury preventing him from putting too much weight on his feet and having already missed as many games this season (six) as he did last season, there's some concern that Doncic won't be able to shed the extra pounds as quickly as he'd like.