Luka Doncic Ruled out for Mavericks vs. Pacers with Back Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 26, 2021

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic smiles after hitting a 3-point shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Sunday, March 21, 2021. Doncic scored 37 points as the Mavericks won the game 132-92. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Steve Dykes/Associated Press

Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic will not play against the Indiana Pacers on Friday because of lower back tightness, head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters on Friday.

ESPN's Tim MacMahon relayed that the team hopes Doncic can return Saturday against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The 22-year-old has averaged 28.6 points, 9.1 assists and 8.3 rebounds per game in his third season with the Mavs, who currently hold a 23-19 record that places them seventh in the Western Conference.

The nightly triple-double threat, two-time All-Star and 2019-20 All-NBA first-team member has excelled once again in his third NBA season. 

Naturally, the Mavs have struggled without him in the past, going 7-7 during Doncic's 14 missed games last year and 36-25 otherwise. A sprained ankle kept him out for 11 of those 14 games in December, January and February of the 2019-20 season.

The Slovenian hasn't missed much time in 2020-21, though. A quad contusion kept him out of a Jan. 3 matchup with the Chicago Bulls, and lower back tightness forced him to the sidelines against the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 3. He also sat March 11 against the Thunder (right ankle).

Otherwise, he had been healthy en route to being named an All-Star starter for the second straight year.

Without Doncic, the Mavs should turn toward Jalen Brunson to handle point guard duties. The Villanova product is averaging 12.3 points and 3.3 assists per game. Trey Burke could get more minutes off the bench as well.

Kristaps Porzingis should assume more of a scoring and usage load, and the same goes for Tim Hardaway Jr. off the bench.