Mavs' Luka Doncic Game-Time Decision for Game 4 vs. Clippers with Ankle Injury

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2020

Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic (77) grabs his left leg after being injured during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game against the Los Angeles Clippers Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic is a game-time decision for Game 4 of the first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers after an MRI on his ankle injury didn't show anything serious, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Doncic suffered a sprained ankle during Friday's Game 3 and did not return as the Mavericks suffered a 130-122 loss. The Clippers are up 2-1 in the series ahead of Game 4, which is scheduled for Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Head coach Rick Carlisle previously noted the quick turnaround could prevent Doncic from playing in the next contest, per MacMahon

Doncic was at least encouraged about his health after the latest loss.

"It's not that bad," he told reporters Friday. "Honestly, I had luck that it was my left ankle. It's not my right."

The guard had sprained his right ankle during the regular season, which had kept him off the court for several weeks.

Dallas will hope he can return much sooner, considering the impact Doncic makes.

The 21-year-old has already become one of the most dangerous weapons in the NBA, finishing the season averaging 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game. He was a star during the seeding games and has kept it up in the playoffs, scoring 42 in his postseason debut in Game 1. He had a triple-double in Game 3 despite being limited to 29 minutes.

It could be a tough challenge for Dallas to compete with the No. 2-seeded Clippers if Doncic is forced to miss time. Kristaps Porzingis has proved he can take a bigger scoring load (34 points in Game 3), while Tim Hardaway Jr. and Seth Curry can pick up the slack in the backcourt, but no one else is as effective running the offense.

Trey Burke could see a bigger role Sunday if Doncic does not play.