Luka Doncic is one of the youngest, most exciting players in today’s NBA. He’s fun to watch, has a great shot, and completely turned around the Mavericks franchise. Unfortunately, he also has had a good deal of injuries in his relatively short career.
Every player deals with pain at some point, but some are much better at mitigating or avoiding it than others. Doncic hasn’t had any truly crippling injuries, but he’s suffered quite a few smaller ones.
I’ll take a look at what they were, and why they occurred, below.
Injuries Early On
Every player, regardless of sport or position, wants to stay as healthy as possible. Making sure your body is in tip-top shape doesn’t just help your career, it’s also important in terms of legacy and being able to aid your team. No one can do much while sitting on the bench.
Doncic is not someone who has missed a ton of games during his first four seasons. In fact, he’s managed to keep any long or serious injuries at bay. That’s one of the most important things for a younger player, as such issues can lead to worse problems down the line.
Even so, Doncic is not someone who stayed completely healthy either. He’s missed a total of 45 games due to pain, with his biggest stint being a 10-game gap. He has been known to play through injuries, but it’s always better to rest when possible.
Ankle Injury (2019/2020/2021/2022)
While few would call Doncic injury prone, if he has a weakness it’s definitely his ankles. That’s the part of his body he struggles with the most, and it’s where he’s had the most recurring issues.
Doncic first hurt his ankle in February, 2019 due to residual soreness. He sat two games, and the Mavericks lost both. Later that year he sprained his ankle in December and was forced to miss four straight contests. That ailment put him in a boot and crutches.
While Doncic bounced back that year, he re-hurt his ankle in January of 2020. During a practice, his right ankle gave way and forced him to miss seven straight games. He then hurt his left ankle, missing three games, in November of 2021.
And on April 11, 2022 when playing against the Spurs, Doncic exited the game after suffering a left calf strain.
Luka Dončić exited the game after suffering a left calf strain. pic.twitter.com/aJ1uJPf68N— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 11, 2022
Such sprains have kept him out of games, but only for so long. Even so, the Mavericks are careful with Doncic. Even if he can play, they have always give him a rest day or two if he’s dealing with a recent injury.
Doncic’s ankle injuries are what keep him sidelined most of the time. However, he has had a couple of other problems he’s had to overcome. None have been too serious, but they have forced him to miss a game here or there.
The first one he ever missed was during 2018, when a sore hip kept him sidelined for a single game. He then had a knee injury in 2019 that caused him to miss five of the last seven games of the season.
If the Mavericks were in the playoff race they might have had him play through the swelling, but they were quite out of it. As they had nothing to play for, they chose to sit their star player and not risk any further issues.
The superstar would then miss a single game to a thumb injury in 2020. He had three other smaller injuries in 2021. First, he got a quad contusion that kept him out one game. Next, back tightness and an elbow bruise both caused him to miss two games each.
Playing Through the Pain
As shown above, every player is going to get a minor injury at some point. Doncic is one of the tougher players around, but just because an athlete can deal with an ailment doesn’t mean they should. Teams need to win, but they don’t want to lose someone for a long time either.
That balance is something Doncic seems to be quite adept at. He’s not afraid to sit if the team tells him to, but he also isn’t afraid to play with a small issue if it means getting a clutch win or taking his team to the next level. In the playoffs, he’s always ready to go.
Injuries are something every player has to both think about and deal with throughout their career. While some people are blessed in that they never get hurt, most athletes suffer a problem or two. Doncic hasn’t seen anything serious, but he’s no stranger to injuries either.
Everyone, from Mavericks fans to more casual viewers, hopes that he can stay one step ahead of long-term problems. He’s completely electric and fun to watch. Luckily, the Mavericks understand his talent and will do what they can to make sure he can play for a long, long time.