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Rumors: Dallas Mavericks optimistic Luka Doncic can return vs. Jazz in Game 3 or 4

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks won Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz without superstar Luka Doncic. It took a historic performance from Jalen Brunson and some hot shooting, but the Mavs secured a split in Dallas as things just keep getting better for Luka and company.

Shams Charania reported that the team is optimistic that Doncic will be able to play in Game 3 or Game 4 in Utah. The next contest is on Thursday, which would be 11 days after he suffered the calf strain in the regular-season finale. Game 4 is set to take place on Saturday afternoon.

The Mavericks brought themselves a bit more time by winning Game 2. They only have to win one contest in Utah and the remaining home games to knock out the Jazz, and Doncic’s status is improving daily. The team must be careful to avoid a setback, but the 23-year-old superstar could be back by the weekend. Here is a look at what that means for the Mavs.

Rumors: Luka Doncic could return in Game 3 or 4 of Dallas Mavericks vs. Jazz playoff series

The Mavericks need Luka to advance as Utah struggles defending guards. Jalen Brunson dropped 41 on the Jazz in Game 2 by attacking off the dribble and kicking to open teammates. Utah wants to play drop coverage with Rudy Gobert, and Doncic is one of the best players in the league at exploiting that.

If Luka is 100 percent, he will have some monster performances against the Jazz in the playoffs. Fans have seen him progress to on-court work, and he even fired his trademark half-court shot to end the team’s shootaround on Monday. Doncic should be back on the court soon, and he will instantly make the Mavericks the favorites to advance past the Jazz.

It is worth noting that Tim MacMahon's source was not as optimistic about Doncic playing in Game 3 on Thursday night. He far from ruled it out, but was non-committal on his status. The Mavericks do not want to tip their hand to the Jazz, but it appears Luka is improving and will return at some point in the series.

How Luka Doncic recovers over the next two days will determine his status for Game 3 on Thursday night. Stay tuned to The Smoking Cuban for updates and all the latest on the Dallas Mavericks.

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