The Mavericks got a nice early Christmas present Tuesday.
Superstar point guard Luka Doncic went through a full practice on Christmas Eve and appears to be angling for a return to game action on Thursday against San Antonio.
Doncic has missed four games with a sprained right ankle.
“I feel good,” Doncic said. “There were a lot of things I had to do. We’re just taking care of it. We’ll see how I progress and we’ll see if I’m ready (to play Thursday).”
Doncic was injured Dec. 14 two minutes into the game against Miami when he stepped on the foot of Heat guard Kendrick Nunn on a move to the basket.
The Mavericks went on to lose that game, but then split the four games that Doncic has been fully out, including road wins at Philadelphia and Milwaukee.
On the pre-Christmas trip to Philly and Toronto, Doncic ramped up his activity level, doing more basketball moves in a 30-minute pregame workout with assistant coach Jamahl Mosley, with head coach Rick Carlisle watching close by.
Doncic continued his rehab on Monday, then was able to go through Tuesday’s 90-minute practice without incident.
“We had a full practice today, it went well, Luka participated in everything,” Carlisle said. “He seems to be doing better every day. I don’t know what his status will be for Thursday, but it certainly will be upgraded. And he’s doing well.
“We’ll see how he’s feeling (Wednesday) and Thursday we’ll see what’s what. But things are looking better and better.”
Doncic is averaging 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game, numbers that took a significant hit when he went out early in the Miami game after scoring just two points and one rebound.
“Two days ago in Toronto before the game, I watched him and I thought he had improved from the previous time I’d seen him,” Carlisle said. “Today, further improvement. So he’s doing well. The important thing is if he’s healthy and feeling good, we need him back on the floor. And whatever adjustment situation there is, we’ll deal with it expeditiously.”
Doncic said he was impressed with the way his teammates held things together during a rugged stretch of the schedule in his absence.
“They’ve played good,” Doncic said. “We got a great team. We had some tough matchups. And they played great. I just wanted to go back on the court to play. I’m competitive. I just wanted to get back as soon as possible.”
Doncic said it was different watching the Mavericks from the bench without being able to go on the court and contribute. He also said he’s looking forward to rekindling the chemistry that he had begun to build with Kristaps Porzingis before the injury.
“We have great chemistry, even before the injury,” Doncic said. “He’s a great player. He’s getting more and more comfortable. And I’m happy for him.”
Said Carlisle: “When you lose a guy like Luka, you adjust your style. But I go back to the Mexico City game, which was the last full game those guys played together and there was a lot of great synergy between them (Doncic and Porzingis).
“So one of the bad breaks about this was that when Luka went out, they had really started to get some better and better chemistry. We’ll pick up hopefully where we left off to some degree. I think there will probably be a little adjusting after 10 days. This is all assuming he’s going to play.”