The Dallas Mavericks have a COVID outbreak on their hands after putting six players in the health and safety protocols in the last five days. On Wednesday afternoon, superstar Luka Doncic was added along with Trey Burke.
The Mavs topped the Timberwolves on Tuesday night without eight players, including their top three scorers. Doncic missed five straight games with an ankle injury before entering the health and safety protocols. Head coach Jason Kidd noted that Luka was slated to return on Thursday night against the Bucks before he joined five other Mavericks on the COVID list.
What does it mean for the Mavericks superstar? When can fans expect him back in the lineup? Should fans be worried? Here is a closer look.
Luka Doncic enters health and safety protocols: What does it mean for Mavericks star?
The entire team has been testing daily. Luka was on the bench on Tuesday night, so he returned a negative test ahead of the game against the Timberwolves. Things changed on Wednesday when Tim MacMahon reported that Doncic tested positive for COVID-19.
The Mavs are going to continue playing. They have signed six replacement players over the last five days. Fans saw Theo Pinson and Marquese Chriss making significant impacts in the win over Minnesota. Charlie Brown, George King, Brandon Knight, and Carlik Jones could all join them in the rotation when the Mavericks host the Bucks on Dec. 23.
Should fans be worried that Mavericks star Luka Doncic entered protocols?
Yes. Luka did not start the season in peak physical condition, and this is just another setback. The 22-year-old superstar is likely to be away from the team for multiple days, and it could have a significant impact on his stamina.
Will Doncic be asymptomatic? That is an unknown, but the Mavericks superstar is vaccinated. Hopefully, Luka does not feel the impacts of the virus and he can return to the court quickly.
When can Mavericks fans expect Luka Doncic back?
To clear the protocols, Doncic has to return consecutive negative COVID-19 tests in a 24-hour period or wait ten days. If he is out the full ten days, Luka will not play until the team’s Jan. 2 game in Oklahoma City.
Entering the protocols on Wednesday likely knocks Luka Doncic out of the team’s Christmas Day clash in Utah against the Jazz. It will be a significant blow to the league’s marquee regular-season date, but the Dallas Mavericks are more concerned about getting Luka Doncic healthy and back on the floor.
There is no guarantee on when Luka Doncic will return. The organization won't put him back on the floor until he is ready to handle a significant workload. How long will that take? Mavericks fans need to stay tuned for updates as they become available.