The Dallas Mavericks entered Sunday fighting for third place in the Western Conference, needing a win and a Warriors loss in New Orleans to move from the 4-seed to the 3-seed.
By the late third quarter of both games, the Warriors and Mavs each held double-digit leads and it certainly appeared clear the top-4 in the West would remain unchanged, particularly with New Orleans playing all bench players in the second half. That the outcome of the playoff race was seemingly decided made what transpired in Dallas even more difficult to see, as Luka Doncic pulled up after a drive and kick grabbing at his left leg.
Luka looked to be holding his knee after this play. Couldn't get a look at what might have happened to him. pic.twitter.com/LjD1v2FapD
— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) April 11, 2022
Doncic would go back to the locker room, grabbing at his calf, and was quickly ruled out of the remainder of the game with a left calf strain.
Luka Dončić (left calf strain) will not return to tonight’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.
— Mavs PR (@MavsPR) April 11, 2022
Further testing surely will come on Monday, as an MRI will likely determine the timetable for Doncic, but it is the thing no one wants to see on the final day of the regular season. The good news is the early indications out of Dallas are that they don’t anticipate it being a serious injury, but muscle strains are always tricky to deal with and always leaves the fear of aggravating it later.
There’s initial optimism that Dallas star Luka Doncic hasn’t suffered a significant injury, source tells ESPN. Team is calling it a strained left calf.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 11, 2022
Doncic hopefully won’t have to miss any time and is possibly aided by the play-in tournament this week that now affords team a little added break for top-6 seeds before the playoffs begin, but Mavs fans will be holding their breath until further word emerges on his status ahead of a likely showdown with Utah in the first round.