The Dallas Mavericks lost Game 1 of their first-round playoff series to the Utah Jazz without superstar Luka Doncic in the lineup. It was a positive performance for Dallas, who was within one in the final minutes, but they just could not close out the victory.
Luka is dealing with a calf strain that will likely cost him Game 2 of the series, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon. He suffered the injury in the regular-season finale against the Spurs on April 10, and even the mildest calf strains usually take seven to ten days to heal. The Mavericks have no reason to risk further injury, so they will hold out the 23-year-old superstar until he is close to 100 percent healthy.
Dallas will be looking to make some adjustments for Game 2, especially if they are without Luka Doncic. Here is a look at what to expect on Monday evening.
Rumors: Luka Doncic likely to miss Game 2 of Dallas Mavericks playoff series vs. Jazz
Spencer Dinwiddie will again take Luka’s place in the starting five if he cannot play, and the Mavericks are going to rely heavily on Jalen Brunson and Dinwiddie. The team performed well when they had two playmakers on the floor, but when JB or Dinwiddie needed a rest, things unraveled a bit. Expect both to play close to 40 minutes in Game 2 as the Mavericks look to secure a split at home.
Expect head coach Jason Kidd to run another short rotation on Monday night. Will he trust Josh Green in Game 2? The Jazz dared the second-year wing to shoot in the opener, and he missed all four of his 3-point attempts. Does he earn another chance and can he make enough shots to force Utah into guarding him?
Doncic did some light shooting on the court for the second straight day on Sunday. He is making progress, but Woj reported he would have to make a dramatic jump before tipoff to be cleared to play in Game 2.
The series shifts to Utah for Game 3 on Thursday evening, and Luka Doncic is more likely to return for that contest. That would be 11 days after he suffered the injury and gives the 23-year-old superstar a bit of extra time to let that scar tissue heal over the muscle. Doncic will still be listed as day-to-day, and supporters know the organization has no reason to tip their hand on his status until it is required to do so.
The Dallas Mavericks need Luka Doncic on the floor to defeat the Utah Jazz. When will he return? Stay tuned to The Smoking Cuban for all the latest.