The Dallas Mavericks will again be without superstar Luka Doncic as they face the Utah Jazz in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series. The 23-year-old is progressing. He did on-court work for the third straight day on Monday, and he was spotted shooting his customary halfcourt shot to close the team’s shootaround on April 18. Luka’s calf is improving, but he was again ruled out for Game 2 after being listed as doubtful until pregame warmups.
Doncic has improved and the door is open for him to return for Game 3 in Utah on Thursday evening. He suffered the calf strain in the team’s regular-season finale on April 10, so the injury will have cost him at least 11 days. The Mavericks are not going to rush their star player, but Luka is itching to get back on the court.
Dallas will be without Doncic in Game 2, so how will the team adjust without their star? Here is a look at what to expect on Monday night and when fans can anticipate another update on his status moving forward.
Luka Doncic improving but still out for Dallas Mavericks vs. Jazz Game 2
The Mavs will start Spencer Dinwiddie in place of Luka again in Game 2. They will be looking to create a few more open looks on Monday night at the American Airlines Center, and do not be surprised to see Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson crashing the glass hard to try to help the Mavericks cover the rebounding disparity from the Game 1 loss.
Dallas misses Luka in every facet of the game. His ability to score, make plays, and rebound would have all been key factors in Game 1. Head coach Jason Kidd is also forced into an 8-man rotation with Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Frank Ntilikina out. The Mavericks are running out of options to play as the Jazz look to take a 2-0 series advantage on Monday night.
The Dallas Mavericks are not going to tip their hand on Luka Doncic’s status until they have to for Game 3. Expect them to continue reporting that he is improving, but offering no timetable until an official status needs to be released at 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Doncic is likely to be upgraded to questionable with a determination on his status made about 90 minutes before Thursday’s tipoff.
Will Luka Doncic be able to return in Game 3? It will depend on how his calf heals between now and then. Fans can stay tuned to The Smoking Cuban for all the updates on his status, plus daily news, opinions, and analysis on the Dallas Mavericks.