Recently-named All-Star starter Luka Doncic will make his return to action on Monday night against the Detroit Pistons, head coach Jason Kidd confirmed. Doncic suffered a sprained ankle during the first quarter of the Mavericks' win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday and missed the team's loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday.
With just under nine minutes to play versus the Suns, Doncic tried to drive to the basket but was cut off by Cameron Johnson and had to spin back the other way. As he did so, he stepped right on Mikal Bridges' foot and awkwardly rolled his left ankle. He immediately winced in pain and hobbled back down the floor. After Torrey Craig hit a 3-pointer, the Mavericks called a timeout to get Doncic out of the game.
Luka went back to the locker room with an apparent ankle injury. pic.twitter.com/zHz5XBVawO— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 27, 2023
He went straight back to the locker room, and while he was able to get there under his own power, he was not moving well at all and constantly grabbed at his ankle and foot.
Doncic's ankle has been giving him issues for a few weeks, and he's popped up on the injury report on a regular basis. However, he's only missed two games along the way, one on Jan. 8 vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder and another on Jan. 15 versus the Portland Trail Blazers.
When Doncic has been on the floor lately, he's performed to his usual level; in his last outing prior to Thursday, he put up 41 points, 15 rebounds and six assists on 16 of 29 from the field in the Mavericks' loss to the Washington Wizards. For the season he is second in the league in scoring at 33.0 points per game.
Losing Doncic for any period of time would have been bad news for the Mavericks, especially with second-leading scorer Christian Wood already sidelined due to a fractured thumb. And based on his reaction to the injury, it certainly seemed like he would miss at least a few games. As it turned out, the sprain was not serious at all, and Doncic is already back to help the Mavericks fight for playoff positioning in the crowded Western Conference.