Luka Doncic will miss the Mavericks’ game at Houston on Friday after suffering a sprained right ankle near the end of Thursday’s practice and coach Rick Carlisle, but the Mavericks got some good news on Friday.
Several reports indicated that the result of the MRI were out and revealed a sprain similar to the one he suffered in December that caused him to miss four games.
“Luka turned his right ankle in practice,” Carlisle said after practice Thursday. “We don’t know the status. We obviously hope it’s not serious. But we don’t know.”
Doncic likely will miss Saturday’s game against Atlanta and a meeting with fellow second-year phenom Trae Young but the Mavericks have to be exhaling about results of the MRI.
Meanwhile, the midday injury report issued by the NBA upgraded shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to probable for the Houston game with lower-back tightness.
Doncic has been very durable so far in his career. He turns 21 next month and he’s missed only four games so far this season. That was in December with a sprain to the same ankle he hurt on Thursday. The Mavericks went 2-2 without him, including impressive road wins at Milwaukee and Philadelphia.
“Stuff happens,” said J.J. Barea, who was on the same team as Doncic when the injury happened during a scrimmage. “Playing hard basketball and stepped on somebody. We hate it that it happened at the end of practice to Luka. But he’s a tough kid. We’ll see what happens, but hopefully it won’t be that long.”
Barea said the experience of playing without Doncic in December should help.
“We’ve done it before,” he said. “It’s not easy. But it gives more opportunities to other guys. We got to go out there and step up. We don’t have our best player, so everybody’s got to step up and go down to Houston and get a win.”
Losing an All-Star is always tough, but the Rockets went to Utah on Monday and won without Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Clint Capela.
It’s unknown how this will impact the playing rotation against Houston, but it could mean Jalen Brunson moves into the starting lineup. He’s been the backup to Doncic most of the season.
The Mavericks have eight games remaining before the All-Star break, which runs from Feb. 13-20.
Doncic has been voted in as a starter in that game.