The Dallas Mavericks play host to the Utah Jazz on Monday evening and, for the seventh consecutive game, Luka Doncic will not be in the lineup. However, the Mavericks are seemingly feeling optimistic about the All-Star’s return, with head coach Rick Carlisle passing along a “hope” that Doncic will return on Wednesday evening.
Rick Carlisle on Luka Doncic: “The hope is he plays on Wednesday. It’ll depend on how he feels, how he responds to [increased basketball activities]. But all in all, he’s doing well.”
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 11, 2020
The Mavericks face the Sacramento Kings at home on Wednesday and that contest doubles as the team’s final game before the All-Star break. While there would be some incentive for Dallas to have Doncic rest through the upcoming All-Star break, his potential return also has impact on the festivities in Chicago. Doncic is scheduled to appear in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge and, of course, he is projected to start in Sunday evening’s All-Star Game.
It would be borderline reckless for Doncic to play in the Rising Stars because, well, that game doesn’t actually matter a great deal. There is probably some value in having Doncic participate, even lightly, in the All-Star Game, though, and a return before the break would seemingly increase the chances of the NBA world seeing one of its best young players on full display in Chicago on Team LeBron.
Prior to his injury, Doncic was enjoying a full-fledged breakout season, averaging 28.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game. The All-Star stuff is secondary to his contributions in Dallas but, in short, it seems as if he is close to returning and that is good news.