Mavericks' Luka Doncic Discusses Neck Injury, Says He's Dealing with Nerve Issue

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 31, 2021

Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic sits on the bench in the fourth quarter in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers in Dallas, Sunday, May 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

If there was any silver lining for the Dallas Mavericks coming out of Sunday's 106-81 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, it was that Luka Doncic told reporters the neck injury he's dealing with felt "way better" on Sunday morning than Saturday morning.

He also plans on playing in Wednesday's Game 5.

Despite the injury concerns, Doncic acknowledged "I played terrible, so we just got to move on to the next one."

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

“I don’t think that matters right now. … I played terrible, so we just got to move on to the next one.”<br><br>Luka on the Game 4 loss and dealing with a nerve issue in his neck ⁰⁰(via @NBAonTNT) pic.twitter.com/nTz2yKxbQf

"He's in pain," Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. "It appeared to me that he couldn't turn left, couldn't look to his left, and that's difficult for a guy that relies on peripheral vision and basically has played his whole life with his head on a swivel."

Doncic did not look like his typical self in the blowout loss and finished with 19 points, six assists and six rebounds. He was also just 9-of-24 from the field, 1-of-7 from three-point range and 0-of-5 from the free-throw line.

His struggles weren't the only issue for the Mavericks.

Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber and Tim Hardaway Jr. combined for 12 points with Kleber going scoreless. That is three-fifths of the starting lineup, which is a recipe for a loss against almost any team, let alone one that can counter with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Leonard controlled much of the game and tallied 29 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks, while George added 20 points and nine boards in support.

The road team has won all four games in the series, which is a formula that would work for the Mavericks considering Games 5 and 7 are slated for the Staples Center.

Still, Doncic and the supporting cast will need to be much better than they were in Sunday's contest.