Luka Doncic’s availability for the Dallas Mavericks’ 2023-24 season opener is seemingly in doubt with head coach Jason Kidd saying there is no timetable for the superstar to return from injury.
Jason Kidd says Luka Doncic doesn't yet have a timetable for return and is still being evaluated as he recovers from a left calf strain.
Doncic was limited to five minutes against Real Madrid and will be out tonight against the Pistons.
— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) October 20, 2023
The 24-year-old last appeared Oct. 10 in a preseason game against Real Madrid. The Mavericks have been off since then before ending their preseason schedule Friday against the Detroit Pistons.
Dallas opens the 2023-24 NBA regular season at the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, Oct. 25. It will be one of the most anticipated openers as it will mark the NBA regular season debut of Spurs rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the 19-year-old is arguably the most heralded prospect to enter the league since LeBron James in 2003.
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Doncic has not played more than 66 games in any of the past four seasons. He averaged a career-high 32.4 points per game last season to go along with 8.6 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game and is considered one of the top players in the league.
Whenever he returns from the injury, Doncic will begin his first full season with Kyrie Irving as a teammate. The 31-year-old arrived in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets last season and the pairing of the two superstars did not go as hoped.
The Mavericks lost nine of their final 11 games, seemingly prioritizing draft positioning near the end of the season. The tanking was so blatant that the organization was fined $750,000 by the NBA. Injuries to both Doncic and Irving contributed to the Mavericks not making the playoffs, but Dallas also was just 5-11 in the 16 games they played together.
Despite that, Irving re-signed with the Mavericks this offseason as a free agent and received a three-year, $120 million contract. At the time, one local radio host said Irving’s deal “spells the end to Luka Doncic’s time in Dallas.”
Though TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal is predicting the Mavericks to win the NBA championship this season, it may take a while to see how the pairing of Doncic and Irving plays out.