Long-Term Concerns Loom for Mavericks on Luka Doncic’s Ankle

Luka Doncic (in white), Mavericks

Getty Luka Doncic (in white), Mavericks

It is no secret that Dallas star Luka Doncic wants to be on the floor. But for the Mavericks, the question is whether the team should have done more to keep him off the floor back when he so badly wanted to return from an ankle injury in mid-November.

Remember, it was a home win over Denver on November 15 that saw Doncic land awkwardly on the ankle and limp off the court, after scoring 23 points in a little more than 37 minutes of playing time. The Mavericks—and indeed, the whole NBA—breathed a sigh of relief when it turned out the injury was not something that required surgery.

Luka Doncic ankle injury & limps off court with 44 seconds left vs Nuggets!Luka Doncic ankle injury & limps off court with 44 seconds left vs Nuggets! Want to watch the best NBA interviews? Subscribe to this channel: youtube.com/c/NBA2DAY Leave a Like for more NBA videos! Subscribe to stay up to date with NBA highlights, game winners, ankle breakers, poster dunks, ejections, injuries, free agency, trades and more!…2021-11-16T03:26:23Z

But after missing just three games (all losses)—just six days of rest—Doncic was back on the floor in Los Angeles, helping the Mavs to a much-needed win over the Clippers, the team’s current archrival. It looked like a sound decision at first, as Doncic averaged 28.0 points, 10.8 assists and 6.8 rebounds in his next three games, shooting 50.6% from the field.

Doncic Ankle Problem Has Persisted a Month Later

Since then, Doncic has played well when he has been on the floor but has been obviously laboring with some ankle pain. He re-injured the ankle on December 10 against Indiana, and tried to keep fighting through it, admitting that he probably should have removed himself from the game after the third quarter.

“I twisted it again,” Doncic said. “I probably shouldn’t have played in the fourth (quarter), I wasn’t feeling very good, you know. But I tried to be out there and we’ll see how it is tomorrow.”

Even before that, Doncic acknowledged that he was not feeling 100% because of the ankle issue. Back on December 7, Doncic said that he was having problems with the pain.

“It’s still painful, but I try to play and try to practice,” Doncic said. “But it’s still painful.”

Luka Doncic looks to be in extreme pain during postgame press conference after Dallas Mavericks loss#lukadoncic #mffl #dallasmavericks Luka admits he needs to work on his fitness but, is the bigger story the amount of pain he’s in?2021-12-08T15:39:45Z

Mavericks Need Doncic in Better Condition

The good news for the Mavericks is that the team has, finally, played well without Doncic in its last two outings, wins over Oklahoma City and Charlotte. Sure, OKC is one of the worst teams in the NBA, with an 8-18 record and, to be sure, Charlotte is just recovering from a teamwide COVID-19 outbreak and is on a 2-6 stretch, but still, the Mavs won both games handily, beating Charlotte by 24 and the Thunder by 19.

Obviously, though, the Mavericks badly need Doncic. But a complicating factor with his ongoing ankle problem is that Doncic admitted to be out of condition to start this season following a busy summer in which he played for the Slovenian national team in the Olympics. Doncic has always looked to play himself into shape in the early part of the year.

As Doncic said, “I had the Olympics, took three weeks off, and I relaxed a little bit. Maybe too much. I’ve just got to get back on track.”

But with an ankle injury keeping him from putting too much pressure on his feet, and having already missed as many games this season (six) as he did all of last season, there’s some worry that Doncic might not be able to work off his extra weight as planned.

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