Luka Doncic officially doubtful for Game 1: Will not play and could miss Game 2

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks will have to face the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series without superstar Luka Doncic. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the 23-year-old will miss Saturday’s game, and the team is concerned he could miss additional time.

This should come as no surprise. Doncic suffered a calf strain in the team’s regular-season finale on April 10. With the playoff opener happening just six days later, it was a tight turnaround for the 23-year-old that was ultimately just too soon. The team will continue to give Luka around-the-clock care as they hope he can play in Game 2.

Mike Leslie reported that Doncic would miss Game 1, but he could still play in Game 2 on Monday night. The team’s second home game would give Luka just over one week for healing, which would align with a mild calf strain. Here is a look at what to expect moving forward.

Luka Doncic (calf) out in Dallas Mavericks vs. Jazz Game 1: What to expect moving forward

Luka is officially listed as doubtful for Saturday’s game, but he will not play. Woj made that clear. The Mavericks will continue treating Doncic and want to take it day by day. They are balancing putting him on the floor the moment he is ready with not rushing and increasing the risk of suffering a more significant injury.

Luka should be considered questionable at best for Game 2 on Monday night. Even the mildest calf strain usually takes seven to ten days to heal, so it is still a short turnaround. The series shifts to Utah for Game 3 on Thursday night, and that appears the most realistic return date for Doncic. The team is not ruling out Game 2, but they want to do what is best for the 23-year-old both short and long-term.

The injury comes at the worst time as Luka Doncic had worked his way back into the MVP race and had the Dallas Mavericks playing their best basketball to close the regular season. How will the team fare without their superstar on Saturday afternoon? Be sure to tune in for Game 1 and check back to The Smoking Cuban after the game for plenty of analysis. 

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