By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer
Luka Doncic had an MRI that showed no significant issues with his bothersome left thigh, easing some concerns for the Dallas Mavericks that the All-Star might miss major time as they push for a playoff spot, a person with direct knowledge of the situation said Thursday.
That person spoke of condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because there was no announcement from the team about Doncic’s status. He is averaging 33 points a game, and made an early exit a day earlier. ESPN first reported the MRI result.
Doncic said after leaving in the third quarter of Wednesday night’s 113-106 loss at New Orleans that he could barely run and was in too much pain to be effective. He has said that he first noticed the thigh issue when he woke up after a game about three weeks ago.
“I didn’t get hit. So, it’s kind of weird for me,” Doncic said Wednesday night. “I really don’t know what it is.”
He said that if the MRI came back clear he hoped ice and physical therapy would help him return quickly. Doncic said the injury affects his ability to run somewhat, but mostly bothers him on jump shots.
Dallas (34-33) was narrowly in the Western Conference playoff picture with 15 games remaining. The Mavericks next play on Saturday night at Memphis.
Going into Thursday, the Mavericks were in eighth place in the Western Conference. They were only a half-game out of sixth place to avoid the play-in tournament, and only 2 1/2 games above 11th place that would leave them out completely.
Doncic has been trying to play through the injury and had been productive recently. He scored 42 in a victory over Philadelphia, 34 in a loss to Phoenix and 29 in a win over Utah on Tuesday night.
But against the Pelicans, he was 4 of 14 with 15 points when he left after missing a step-back jumper.
“We all can see he’s not moving well. So, shooting, defense, it’s affecting everything,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said after the game. “He’s trying to fight through it and help his teammates.”
In his last home game Sunday, when Doncic missed a late floater that would have tied the Suns, he had left the court in the second quarter for treatment on a his left thigh. He said then that it was the worst the injury had felt, but three days later he couldn’t finish a game.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports