How Effective Can Luka Doncic Be If He Returns in Game 3?

Luka Doncic injury update and analysis ahead of Game 3.
Luka Doncic injury update and analysis ahead of Game 3. / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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Luka Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks' international superstar, has not taken the court in 10 days since suffering a left calf strain during the final regular season game.

The 23-year-old is listed as questionable ahead of Game 3, with his team tied in the series with the Utah Jazz at 1-1.

The ProBasketballDocs – including former Chicago Bulls head team physician Dr. John Hefferon – give Doncic a Sports Injury Central health score of 72.

He will be limited if he plays, especially on the defense end.

His unique blend of size and ball handling ability should allow him to be effective on offense, but expect him to settle for jumpers more often instead of attacking off the dribble.

The three-time All-Star has looked better and better in practice videos, but his calf injury is likely to hamper him throughout Round 1 and potentially into Round 2.

Doncic spoke to reporters Wednesday for the first time since suffering the injury and said he was feeling good, but was still uncertain about playing in Game 3.

It's possible the Mavericks are hoping to steal a game on the road before bringing Doncic back. If Dallas loses tonight, Doncic would almost assuredly suit up for Game 4.

Doncic also said Wednesday that “if there's no risk of (further) injury, I'll be out there.”

This does not exactly fit with the ProBasketballDocs assessment of the situation and what has been reported lately, namely from Shams Charania saying the team is hopeful to have Doncic in Game 3 or 4.

Calf injuries linger and there will always be a risk of reinjury until Doncic is fully healed, which may not be until after the postseason concludes.

However, Doncic's unique talent and slow play style can allow him to be effective without being 100% healthy from the calf strain.

The Mavericks are 7-point underdogs in Game 3 and the over/under is 210, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Dallas is also +172 to win the series.

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