Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Mavericks’ Luka Doncic to have knee evaluated by Slovenian national team before Olympic qualifiers, per report

Luka Doncic has returned to Slovenia, where the national team’s medical staff will evaluate his knee in advance of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Piraeus, Greece, according to Dallas Basketball’s Grant Afseth

On July 2, the first day of the tournament, Slovenia will play against Croatia. Doncic, whose 2023-24 NBA season just ended on June 17, was noncommittal about his status in the immediate aftermath of the Dallas Mavericks’ loss in the Finals. Twelve days earlier, however, he told reporters, “Yeah, I think we’ll see how my knee is. But if it’s a good, I’m going to go play, yeah.”

In his end-of-season press conference on Friday, Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison told reporters, “In terms of playing for the national team, I think that’s probably one of his biggest joys, so I think, as long as he can walk, he’s probably going to go out there and play for them. That would be my expectation.”

It is fair to assume that Doncic will be on the court in Piraeus unless there’s a medical reason he can’t be. During the playoffs, he averaged 40.1 minutes per game despite spraining his knee in the first round of the playoffs, hurting his ankle in the second round and dealing with a thoracic contusion (a chest injury) in the Finals.

“He was hurting, but he’s a warrior.” Harrison said. “He’s going to fight through all those injuries. That’s just who he is. He loves to play. But yeah, I mean, multiple injuries throughout his body, that’s evident, and you can see the way he’s walking and running.”

The OQT in Piraeus is one of four tournaments that will be played from July 2-7 to determine which countries will join France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Serbia, South Sudan and the United States at the Paris Olympics. Slovenia will compete against Croatia, Greece, New Zealand, Egypt and Dominican Republic for one spot.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is training with Greece’s national team and will play in the tournament.

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