The Dallas Mavericks are expected to receive a major boost on Thursday with ESPN's Tim McMahon reporting that Luka Doncic will return against the San Antonio Spurs.
Sources: The Mavs are planning for Luka Doncic to make his return from a sprained right ankle tonight against the Spurs. He has missed last four games and is officially listed as questionable.- Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 26, 2019
Doncic sprained his ankle less than two minutes into the Mavericks' loss to the Miami Heat back on December 14. Dallas lost that game and then went 2-2 in the four games he missed following the injury against Miami. Doncic's injury coincided with a tough stretch against the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
VOTE FOR THE 2020 ALL-STAR GAME!
The 2-2 split would have been impressive even with the second-year superstar in the lineup. Dallas alternated wins and losses, first ending the Milwaukee Bucks' 18-game win streak on the road before losing by six at home to the Boston Celtics. They then went to Philadelphia and clobbered the 76ers by 19 points before then losing a wild one on the road at Toronto in a game they led by as many as 30 points in the second half.
The Mavericks were paced by Kristaps Porzingis during Doncic's absence as the Latvian averaged 22.4 points and 13.8 rebounds per game.
At 19-10, the Mavericks currently sit in fifth place in the hyper-competitive Western Conference despite owning the best scoring margin of any team in the conference.
Doncic is in the midst of a breakout season in which he's averaging 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game and leads the league with eight triple-doubles. There might not be a better team for Doncic to return against than the Spurs against whom he had 42 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists earlier this season.
The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.