Luka Doncic Out for Mavericks vs. Thunder with Back Injury

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIMarch 4, 2021

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic celebrates after scoring and drawing a foul during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic was ruled out of Wednesday night's contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a lower back injury, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon.

Wednesday marks the Mavs' final game before the All-Star break. Doncic, who was named an All-Star starter, is still expected to play in the exhibition on Sunday.

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon

Luka Doncic isn’t playing tonight. Rick Carlisle said Doncic’s lower back has been bothering him for 2 1/2 weeks. “It’s just something where he needed to take a game.”

After a slow start to the season, Doncic started to turn things around with a 27-point, 15-rebound, seven-assist performance against the Miami Heat on New Year's Day. Unfortunately, it came at a cost as the 21-year-old missed the following game against the Chicago Bulls with a bruised left quad. 

Doncic's status was still undetermined 90 minutes before tipoff against the Bulls, so it's unclear if the injury was one he could've played through. Either way, the team decided not to risk it with its franchise cornerstone. 

Instead, Jalen Brunson and Trey Burke saw their minutes increase in Chicago, and they can expect a similar bump with Doncic sidelined again. 

The Mavericks (17-16) need the guard on the floor and healthy at all costs—even if he's still trying to find his rhythm from behind the arc—as he demands the defense's full attention whenever he's playing. 

Through 32 games, Doncic is averaging 28.6 points, 9.0 assists and 8.4 rebounds. 

He'll hope to keep pumping those numbers up when he's able to return.