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NBA

Doncic set to return in Game 4 against Utah Jazz

The Slovenian has been sidelined for the past fortnight with a calf muscle sprain. He could be handed minutes against Utah.

Update:
Luka Doncic. (Photo by TOM PENNINGTON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)
TOM PENNINGTONAFP

Luka Doncic could make his return for Dallas Mavericks later this afternoon in Saturday’s Game 4 matchup with the Utah Jazz. The Slovenian guard has yet to debut in the playoffs after spraining his left calf muscle during the tail end of the regular season. His last appearance was against the San Antonio Spurs on 10 April but since then he has been recovering and didn’t take part in any of the first three playoffs games against Utah as coach Jason Kidd felt, and still feels that it’s better not to risk him at this stage.

Doncic status upgraded to probable

However, he returned to full practice on Wednesday and played 5-on-5 on Thursday and Friday without reporting any pain or discomfort to his left leg. He was listed as questionable to play Game 4 but upgraded to probable on Saturday and will be assessed during the warm-ups. He could be handed minutes at Vivint Arena - but at best only limited playing time, as not to risk suffering a relapse. The Mavs lead the series 2-1 - they reclaimed home court advantage in the best-of-seven series after winning Game 3 126-118 in Utah. Game 5 will also be played in Dallas. A sixth game, if necessary, will be played on Thursday in Utah. If a seventh game is needed, it will be played in Dallas on 30 April. Utah is 29-13 at home this season, while Dallas are 24-18 on the road, including the playoffs first round.

Doncic averaged 28.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.7 assists over the regular season. “He did great in the film session...” Kidd joked on the eve of Game 4. “He participated, he’s in good spirits, we’ll see how he feels. Optimistic? That’s a good word... I think when you look at what he’s done up to this point, he’s going in the right direction - he’s listening to the medical, he’s doing all the work. There haven’t been any setbacks, so we’ll see how he goes today. It’s a quick turn, we play tomorrow afternoon. We’ll see how much he can do today and if he does everything, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. Where we are in the series does not have any effect on whether Luka plays or not.

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