Top News

Mavs’ Luka Doncic (hamstring) rushed to MRI after early loss to Pels

NEW ORLEANS — Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic slowly walked into the media room after the game Wednesday night and cautiously took his place on the podium.

He had walked out of his team’s 113-106 loss in New Orleans in the third quarter with a left thigh strain, something that has bothered him for some time.

When asked how the thigh felt, Doncic chuckled, “It’s not good.”

Doncic said he will have an MRI on Thursday to determine the severity of the injury. Doncic had mentioned thigh pain when speaking to reporters after Saturday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, but said on Wednesday the injury is lingering.

“I think it was the second game after the All-Star break,” Doncic said. “So similar.”

The Mavs’ second game after the All-Star break was against the San Antonio Spurs, a 142-116 win for Dallas. Doncic said he woke up the morning after the game and had thigh pain.

“I don’t think so, because normally I would get hit in the thigh,” said Doncic when asked if he had ever had such an injury. “This one, I wasn’t hit. So this is kinda weird to me. I don’t really know what it is.”

When asked when it affects him the most, Doncic replied: “Just finding my rhythm. Run. I can feel it especially in the jump shots because you need both legs.

On possession prior to his Wednesday night checkout, Doncic attempted a 15-foot leap from the left that hit the back of the rim. He slowly jogged up the court in pain and got out of play at the next stoppage, 2:29 remaining in the third quarter.

Doncic said he felt good in the first quarter but noted the injury worsened as the game progressed.

In the three games that followed the Feb. 23 game against San Antonio, Doncic showed his usual level – shooting 53.6% from the field during a stretch derived from a 42-point, 12-assist game against the Philadelphia 76ers was crowned on March 2nd.

But in Doncic’s last two games before Wednesday, against the Suns and then against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, he was a combined 18-of-46 from the floor and 5-of-20 from 3-point range.

Against the Pelicans, Doncic was 4 of 14 overall and 1 of 5 from deep. He only attempted two shots in the third quarter before checking out. He also missed all five of his shot attempts in the second quarter — the most attempts he had in a non-goal quarter all season.

Wednesday was also the first back-to-back Doncic had played since December 5-6.

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said the hamstring clearly bothered Doncic as he was forced out of the game.

“Yes, I think we can all see that he’s not moving well,” Kidd said. “The shooting, the defense, it affects everything. He tries to fight his way through and help his teammates, but he had to go there. I hope it’s nothing serious. We have a few days here before we play Memphis so hopefully he’ll be back soon. “

The Mavs play the Grizzlies on Saturday.

Also of concern for Doncic, he canceled his 15th technical foul at 4:51 to play in the first quarter. A 16th technical would trigger an automatic one-game suspension.

“I think we all know, he knows, too, that he’s one step away from being suspended,” Kidd said. “So he needs to be better. But we all need to get better. We all complain about calls during the game. The referees might see some, miss some. It’s all part of the game. But we all need to get better.”

Doncic said he’s “trying to be better” when it comes to talking to officials and technical fouls, but he also knows what’s at stake.

“It’s difficult for me,” said Doncic. “It’s just the passion to win games. But I definitely have to get better.”