Breaking News
More () »

Luka injury tracker: Will the Mavs star play in Game 4?

Luka Doncic's injury from April 10 happened after contact from a mid-air collision with Spurs big man Zach Collins.

DALLAS — Note: This story will continue to be updated as more information is released on Luka Doncic's injury.

Game 4 status

Luka Doncic's status was upgraded to "probable," the team announced about three hours before tipoff. 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news around noon Saturday that Doncic, who had been listed as questionable for Game 4, was trending toward a return against the Jazz, albeit likely in a limited fashion.

Wojnarowski reported that Doncic would play limited minutes if he completed warmups without any setbacks.

At 12:45 p.m., the team's public relations account tweeted that Doncic's status had been upgraded.

Game 3 and Game 4 status

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic will not play in Game 3 of their first-round series against the Utah Jazz, according to the team.

The Mavs upgraded Doncic's status to "questionable" Wednesday afternoon. This was the first time the team has labeled him as "questionable" during the 2022 NBA Playoffs. In the previous two games, he was labeled as "doubtful."

Tipoff for Game 3 is 8 p.m. at Vivint Arena in Utah.

Just before 5 p.m. Thursday, NBA reporter Marc Stein reported the Mavs plan to bring Doncic back for Game 4 on Saturday, which has a tip-off of 3:30 p.m.

There is no official report on his status from the Mavs as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

RELATED: Mavs Luka Doncic out for Game 3, according to ESPN

Injury recap

Doncic took some shots and got some 1-on-1 work in during Wednesday's practice.

Doncic also talked with the media Wednesday, saying he "feels good" and that he has made a lot of progress the past two days. However, he also said "we shouldn't rush anything" in terms of bringing him back.

"If I'm ready and there's no risk of injury, I'll be out there," Doncic said. "At the beginning, it was painful. Now, it's not really that painful. I'm feeling good right now."

Doncic said he still needs to be cleared by the training staff to play. The risk of re-aggravating his injury is the main factor.

Head Coach Jason Kidd also spoke with the media, saying the team will wait to see how Doncic feels before making a final decision. 

Kidd said if he does play, the Mavs do not expect him to be limited. 

"As I've said all week, or the last 10 or 11 days, he's in good spirits," Kidd said Wednesday. "He looks great. He's looked great through the process of rehabbing."

Doncic echoed what Kidd discussed if he's able to play, saying if there's no risk for injury, he doesn't want to play limited minutes.

"I just miss basketball," Doncic said. "I know it's only been two games, but I miss it so much. Sitting out watching the games is way more stressful than playing the game. I don't know how, but it is."

Doncic was officially out for Monday night's Game 2 against the Jazz, the team announced about an hour and a half before the game started.

The tipoff was 7:30 p.m. at the American Airlines Center. Without Doncic, the Mavs beat the Jazz 110-104 to tie the series 1-1.

The Mavericks had listed Doncic as doubtful on Sunday.

Video from Sunday morning's practice showed Doncic increasing his activity on the court and taking some shots.

The Mavs fell to the Jazz 99-93 in Game 1. Doncic was listed as out prior to this game against the Jazz as well. It had been reported through the week that Doncic was "expected" to miss the game.

On Friday, April 15, the Mavs listed Doncic as "doubtful" for Game 1, which was the team's first official report on his status. 

When it came time to release lineups for the noon tip-off on April 16, Doncic was finally officially ruled out.

The injury initially happened when Doncic strained his left calf in the third quarter of the regular-season finale against the San Antonio Spurs on April 10. He was then ruled out for the rest of the game.

On Monday, April 11, Doncic received an MRI on his calf, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon.

MacMahon reported that the MRI confirmed Doncic suffered a calf strain and that there's no timetable for his return.

On Tuesday, April 12, the Dallas Mavericks confirmed what MacMahon reported the previous day, saying Doncic had a left calf strain and there was no timetable for his return.

Kidd spoke to the media that afternoon, saying the team is preparing to be both with and without Doncic for the start of the playoffs. Kidd said that is the normal procedure when a player has an injury like the one Doncic does.

"For a coach, it's always the player's call," Kidd said. "So if he's able to go and put on his shoes, then he's going to go. If he can't, we're not going to jeopardize putting him in a situation to make things worse."

Kidd also said his coaching staff is going off what the medical team tells them each day. At the time, he said things could be worse and Doncic could already be ruled out for this weekend's game rather than the current wording of "no timetable for his return."

"We're not trying to give anybody anything," Kidd said, when asked if the team is being coy with some of its vague updates. "We're just giving the report the medical staff is giving. Hopefully, we can give good news here on Wednesday or Thursday or Friday that he will be playing."

On Wednesday, April 13, Doncic could be seen at the Mavs practice getting in some work on a stationary exercise bike next to Maxi Kleber. The Mavs star was wearing a compression sleeve on his left leg.

RELATED: Injury report: When do professional sports teams have to reveal a player's status?

On Thursday, April 14, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that Luka Doncic is "expected" to miss Game 1 because of his calf strain.

Luka could be seen getting work done on his left calf during practice.

While talking to the media on Thursday, April 14, Kidd didn't provide an update on his playing status for Game 1, simply saying it "looks like he's improving."

"He's progressing," Kidd said Thursday. "He's doing good. Didn't practice, but he's in good spirits and had a good day."

Friday, April 15, was considered a treatment day for the team, so there was no media availability.

Around 1 p.m. on that Friday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski posted a Tweet, saying that Doncic will not play in Game 1 and "significant concern remains for his availability Monday in Game 2," according to Wojnarowski's sources.

He also said in the Tweet that the Mavs are trying to play the "long game" with Doncic's injury and taking it "day-by-day."

Then at 4 p.m. Friday, April 15, the Mavs public relations team released its injury report for Game 1, saying that Doncic is "doubtful."

According to NBA rules, the Mavs were not required to publicly list an official status for Doncic — such as probable, questionable or doubtful — until 5 p.m. on the day before the team's next game.

Teams have to announce starting lineups 30 minutes before tip-off, according to the NBA.

As the No. 4 seed, the Mavericks are beginning their playoff run against the No. 5 seed Utah Jazz in the first round. These two teams split their four regular-season games against each other, each winning two.

This will be the first postseason the Mavs will have home-court advantage since the 2010-2011 season — when the franchise won its sole NBA championship.

There's a big difference between contact and non-contact injuries. Non-contact injuries frequently turn out worse than the alternative.

Doncic's injury from April 10 happened after contact from a mid-air collision with Spurs big man Zach Collins.

Specific to Doncic's situation, it is difficult to predict how long a calf strain takes to heal. Players have come back within the week of the injury while others have taken several months.

And in some cases, if not fully healed, calf strains can result in re-injury or other worse injuries. For example, Kevin Durant came back from a calf strain in the 2019 NBA Finals only to rupture his Achilles midway through his first game back.

According to Jeff Stotts, who is a renowned injury analyst on Twitter, the average time lost for calf strains in the NBA this season was 16 days.

Going off this average, that would put Doncic back on the court around April 25 or April 26.

Coach Jason Kidd said before the regular-season finale the club wanted to treat the game as a dress rehearsal for the playoffs even if it didn't mean moving up from the fourth seed.

Doncic had played his normal rotation, going the entire first quarter and part of the second. He was on the verge of playing all of the third quarter when he pulled up with the injury. He left with 2:24 remaining in the quarter.

Before You Leave, Check This Out