The Dallas Mavericks need Luka Doncic performing at his best to make a deep playoff run in 2022. The 23-year-old superstar is the team’s engine and one of the best offensive creators in the league. Dallas has been one of the NBA’s top teams since the calendar flipped to 2022 because of Luka’s improved play, which made his calf injury in the regular-season finale such a gut punch.
The Mavs announced he was dealing with a left calf strain, but they have offered no timetable for his return. Even the mildest calf injuries usually cost NBA players more than one week of action. Doncic suffered the strain on April 10, and the team opens their playoff series versus the Utah Jazz on Saturday afternoon. The team does not want to risk a more serious injury, so they will likely wait for Doncic to be near or at full strength before he takes the court.
Shams Charania reported on April 14 that Luka is expected to miss Game 1 against the Jazz. It is just a rumor at this point as the team has not put out anything official, but it should come as no surprise to fans. Doncic just needs more time before taking the court again.
Rumors: Luka Doncic (calf) out Game 1 of Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz playoff series
The NBA did not do the Mavs any favors with the schedule. They play the first game of the playoffs on Saturday at noon CT and have to bounce back to play on Monday night before the series shifts to Utah. If Doncic has already been ruled out two days before tipoff, it is unlikely he will play in Monday’s Game 2 either.
Fans should be hoping Luka can return for Game 3 in Utah. The Mavericks need to split the first two games in Dallas to keep themselves in the driver's seat in the series.
If number 77 can return at any point in the series, the Mavs will have a shot to advance, but the organization must wait until Luka is healthy and at no risk of suffering a more devastating injury.
Shams Charania's report was not what fans wanted to hear, but the Dallas Mavericks are far from eliminated. The rest of the roster needs to step up and steal a game or two without Luka Doncic on the floor. If that happens, the Mavs could still be looking at a deep playoff run, so stay tuned to The Smoking Cuban for all the latest.