Luka Doncic Won't Play vs. Blake Griffin, Pistons Because of Ankle Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2019

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 22:  Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks looks on against the Golden State Warriors on December 22, 2018 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic will be out for his team's game Thursday against the Detroit Pistons with an ankle injury, per Dwain Price of Mavs.com.

Doncic arrived in the NBA to great fanfare in 2018. In his final season with Real Madrid, he won the Euroleague title and was its MVP. He also collected three Spanish league titles with Madrid—all before his 20th birthday.

Somehow, Doncic has exceeded expectations in the NBA. Through 49 games, he's averaging 20.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists while shooting 35.2 percent from three-point range.

Despite Doncic's solid contributions, the Mavericks face an uphill battle in the race for the playoffs. At 23-27, Dallas is 4.5 games back of the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Losing the Slovenian guard won't make a return to the postseason any easier.

Until Doncic comes back, the Mavs will turn to Jalen Brunson as their primary playmaker, and Devin Harris will likely handle the ball as well.

In addition, Dallas is short-handed Thursday after a seven-player deal with the New York Knicks sent Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews to the Big Apple. The Mavs will get Kristaps Porzingis, Trey Burke, Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. in return.

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