Luka Doncic may be coming off of an ankle injury, but it hasn’t shown over his past two games. When he returned to the lineup against the Detroit Pistons on Monday, he dropped 53 points in a hard-fought victory. He was well on his way to a similar performance against the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, but a freak accident may send him back to square one.
The play came in the third quarter with Dallas holding an enormous 81-55 lead over New Orleans. Doncic used a screen from Dwight Powell to get a clean lane to the basket, but when he went up for a dunk, he collided with Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas. He fell to the ground seemingly in significant pain from there.
Doncic initially tried to play through the injury, but he wound up asking coach Jason Kidd to remove him. He went to the locker room from there, and the Mavericks have since ruled him out with a right heel contusion.
Doncic missed only two games the last time he hurt his foot, but the Mavericks really can’t afford to be without him for any more time. At 27-25, the Mavericks may be in possession of the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference for now, but they are only a game and a half up on No. 11 Portland. Doncic is their only consistent generator of good shots. If he has to miss any extended period of time, the Mavericks simply aren’t going to be able to score enough points to win games.