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Luka Doncic injury update: Dallas Mavericks star could return for Game 3

Vincent Frank

The Luka Doncic injury did not have an impact on his Dallas Mavericks in Game 2 of their first-round NBA Playoff series against the Utah Jazz Monday night.

Riding the hot hand of Jalen Brunson (41 points), Dallas evened up the series at one with a 110-104 home win over the Jazz.

It now looks like the team could be getting Doncic back in time for its all-important Game 3 matchup with the Jazz in Utah Thursday evening.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Doncic has seen his injury improve big time since straining his calf in Dallas’ regular-season finale against the San Antonio Spurs. The NBA insider notes that there’s optimism that Doncic could return for either Game 3 Thursday or Game 4 on Saturday.

Related: 2022 NBA Playoff and championship predictions

Luka Doncic injury and impact on the Mavericks-Jazz series

luka doncic injury update
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

As we noted above, Brunson went off for a career-high 41 points in the Mavericks’ Game 2 win. He shot 15-of-25 from the field, including a 6-of-10 mark from three-point range while finishing plus-15 in just north of 42 minutes.

Both Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith joined Brunson in registering north of 42 minutes of action. After dropping Game 1 at home, Monday’s outing was a must-win for Dallas. It could not afford to head to Salt Lake City down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. Hence, why those three played north of 42 minutes.

Related: Luka Doncic injury impact on Dallas Mavericks title hopes

Not only will the Mavericks’ ability to advance be increased simply by Doncic’s otherworldly abilities once he returns, this shortened rotation could lead to fatigue. That’s an important backdrop to all of this.

  • Luka Doncic stats (2021-22): 28.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 8.7 APG, 46% shooting, 35% 3-point, 25.1 PER, 7.6 win shares

By now, it’s obvious what Doncic brings to the table on both ends of the court. Even at less than 100%, he’s the Mavericks’ best player.

Dallas is in a prime position to hand Utah a franchise-altering first-round playoff exit. This latest Luka Doncic injury update adds another layer to that. Even if he’s unable to go on Thursday, there’s light at the end of this tunnel.