LOS ANGELES (AP) — The morning before the Mavericks-Clippers game on Tuesday, Luka Doncic provided an injury update.It was the one that arrived about an hour before the opening tip.
Doncic will play in the Mavericks’ rematch against the Clippers on Tuesday night, his first game back after missing three with left knee and ankle sprains.Doncic told reporters in a rare post-shootaround interview Tuesday morning that he was still “questionable” to play the final game of the Mavericks’ road trip.
After receiving additional treatment later in the day, the team decided to activate him after he warmed up on the Staples Center court about 90 minutes before the game began.”I will do everything in my power to play,” Doncic said after the shootaround.
Doncic also discussed his absence from practise on Monday, which left his injury status in doubt and Mavericks fans worried about re-aggravation. During a 5-on-5 scrimmage at the end of the workout, Doncic abruptly exited the court and sat down on the bleachers, shouting. Doncic revealed on Tuesday that he had collided with a teammate during a pick-up game.
Doncic left practise with ice wrapped around his left knee and a bandage around it, but he said Tuesday morning in Staples Center that the collision didn’t worsen the pain he’s still dealing with.At half-court, he spoke with Casey Smith, director of player health and performance, before concluding the workout with free throws.
Then, for the first time since suffering knee and ankle sprains in the final minute of the Mavericks’ Nov. 15 win over the Nuggets, Doncic spoke with reporters. Doncic has watched the Mavericks suffer their first three-game losing streak of the season while he has been out, but he says the losses haven’t been the most difficult part of his last week.”I want to play even if we’re winning,” Doncic said.
“That’s why [it’s aggravating].” I’d like to participate. It’s difficult to sit on the bench and watch. I’m way more nervous than I used to be, so I don’t like it, so hopefully I’ll be back soon.” “I think we’ve played well, to be honest,” Doncic said after a few questions. Just a few minutes — we talk about it as a team — we relax a little bit, and I believe it costs us all games. But I believe we played well in every game.”Meanwhile, Doncic moved his creative tendencies from the court to his spot at the end of the bench. He dubbed himself “the 10th coach” on the Mavericks’ staff because he has been watching every game intently from his seat next to close friend Boban Marjanovic and has been eager to offer teammates advice or answer questions during breaks in play.
Doncic said Kristaps Porzingis asked him a question during Sunday’s loss to the Clippers, and they discussed what Doncic was seeing from his corner of the court.”I tell them what I see and how we can improve,” Doncic said. “All I try to do is help my teammates.”During his pregame press conference, Jason Kidd joked that Doncic wasn’t the last coach: “He’s most likely the first one.””An additional set of eyes, a high basketball IQ, seeing what the defense or offence is doing,” Kidd explained.
“Being able to communicate with your teammates demonstrates a high level of caring and still participating and attempting to help us win in any way possible.” He says things during timeouts, or he’ll walk by and give us some ideas for what we could do, which has been helpful.”Once again, it’s pretty impressive for a 22-year-old to be able to do those things.” But he’s at the end of the bench, talking to his teammates, trying to make the game easier for everyone.”
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