Luka Doncic made Dallas history with the NBA team’s first playoff triple-double on Friday, but the Slovenian star’s left ankle sprain in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers took the sheen off the feat.
“It’s not that bad,” the 21-year-old told reporters after the 130-122 defeat that left the Mavericks trailing the Clippers two games to one in the best-of-seven Western Conference Series. “A little sprain.”
But Doncic will have an MRI exam on Saturday, and coach Rick Carlisle said he didn’t know what his young star’s status would be for game four on Sunday.
“Unsure of the exact severity of Luka’s left ankle,” Carlisle said. “We’ll know more tomorrow. He did come back and try it, obviously, and wasn’t moving great, so we’ll see where he is come tomorrow and then Sunday morning.”
Doncic appeared to tweak the ankle when he slipped in the opening minutes of the game.
But the real damage was done with four minutes left in the third quarter, as he moved over to defend a driving Kawhi Leonard.
Doncic twisted the ankle and hit the court, clearly in pain. He hopped to the sideline and was helped to the locker room, returning in the fourth quarter with the ankle heavily taped.
In his brief return, Doncic polished off a triple-double of 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
But he came up limping again with 9:02 remaining and headed again to the sidelines and again to the locker room.
Carlisle said he had no qualms about putting Doncic back in the game when he said he wanted to try to play.
But he recognized immediately when Doncic couldn’t go on.
“He didn’t further injure it,” Carlisle said. “He just wasn’t able to move the way you’ve got to be able to move in a playoff game.”