All signs are pointing toward Luka Doncic returning to action Wednesday in the final game before the All-Star break.
Just be aware that signs sometimes can be misread.
The Mavericks’ all-star point guard on Monday missed his seventh consecutive game with a sprained right ankle. But Doncic has had two live practices in the last two days and if there are no complications, he’s likely to play against the Sacramento Kings Wednesday at American Airlines Center.
“He’s progressing, he’s continuing to ramp up his activity over the last week,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He scrimmaged yesterday (Sunday) for a significant amount of time. He scrimmaged today (Monday) for a significant amount of time.
“Nothing’s changed. The hope is that he can play on Wednesday. It’ll depend on how he feels, how he tolerates these two days. But all in all, he’s doing well.”
Doncic has a full plate of obligations coming up at All-Star Weekend. He’s a starter in the main event on Sunday and also was voted into the Rising Stars game on Friday.
It would be difficult, but not impossible, to justify playing in either of those events without playing in a game for the Mavericks before the break.
Being Doncic’s first All-Star Game, he obviously wants to play and enjoy the experience. The event is in Chicago.
The Mavericks have played 11 games without Doncic this season. During a four-game stretch in December during his first ankle sprain, the Mavericks went 2-2.
They were 3-4 without him in this latest stretch, including Monday’s 123-119 loss to the Jazz.
New addition: The Mavericks made it official Tuesday morning, announcing the signing of forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
To make room, the Mavericks had a tough decision to make and they elected to waive second-year swingman Ryan Broekhoff.
Broekhoff broke the news himself when he posted on social media on Monday night after the Mavericks lost to Utah what a wonderful experience he had in nearly two seasons with the Mavericks. “Been a pleasure,” he said as he thanked the Mavericks for the opportunity to be in the NBA the past two seasons.
Gilchrist has not played much this season while with the Charlotte Hornets, seeing action in only 12 games and playing just 13.3 minutes per game. The No. 2 overall draft pick in 2012 had averaged 4 points and 2.9 rebounds with the Hornets.
He’s had a storied career though at other levels. He won a national championship as a freshman in his only season with the Kentucky Wildcats. He also won a gold medal with the U.S. Under-17 team in 2010.
“He’s a good defender,” said Kristaps Porzingis after the loss to Utah. “He’s going to give us that energy, that spark on defense. We’ll see. I haven’t seen him play in a while.”
Broekhoff had earned consistent playing time in recent games, but the Mavericks had to waive somebody. They are not allowed to waive a two-way player to make room for a veteran like Kidd-Gilchrist. Broekhoff shot 40.3 percent from 3-point range with the Mavericks.
Offense has kept clicking: Even with the engine to their offense, Doncic, missing the last couple weeks, the Mavericks have maintained their No. 1 offensive rating in the NBA.
They are on pace to perhaps have the best rating ever, currently at 117.3 points per 100 possessions.
“We have depth,” Carlisle said. “We have guys that can space the floor. We’ve been moving the ball fairly well. In the Charlotte game, I think we had the most passes that we’ve had the entire year, which is a great thing that leads to a lot of other good things happening at both ends of the floor.
“We’re going to have to continue to move it, space it, drive it and hit shots.”
In the first half against the Jazz, the offense wasn’t great. But the defense was atrocious. The Jazz shot better than 60 percent for most of the half and at one point were outrebounding the Mavericks 23-10.
Rough night: One of the interesting things from Saturday’s game at Charlotte was that, because the Mavericks were blowing out the Hornets, many fans were instead watching televisions throughout the arena showing Duke-North Carolina.
At one point, when Duke forced overtime with a remarkable buzzer-beating play, the Spectrum Center erupted with cheers.
“I knew, since nothing was going on in our game, that something bad had happened,” said proud North Carolina graduate Justin Jackson. “You could just tell by the cheers.”
Sure enough, the Tar Heels would lose in overtime. Jackson is the only North Carolina product on the Mavericks’ roster.
Briefly: The Mavericks will scatter after Wednesday’s game against Sacramento. The team will not be required to be back in Dallas until the first practice after the break, probably on Feb. 19 or 20 . . . The sellout on Monday was the Mavericks’ 814th in a row, tying Portland’s streak last century for longest consecutive sellout streak in NBA history.