Mavericks superstar Doncic exits game after suffering heel contusion
The Dallas Mavericks will be anxiously awaiting more information on Luka Doncic's heel injury after he was forced to exit Thursday's home win against the New Orleans Pelicans in the third quarter.
Doncic had 27 points in the first half as the Mavericks blew the doors off early, jumping ahead by 31 points halfway through the second period.
The 23-year-old, who has been selected for his fourth All-Star Game this season, scored four more points before taking an awkward fall when going up for a dunk.
He exited the game and did not return, and from that point on the Pelicans outscored the Mavericks 50-27, but Dallas were able to hold on for the 111-106 victory after a controversial referee mistake robbed New Orleans of a chance to shoot for the tie in the final seconds.
The Mavericks officially labelled Doncic's injury as a right heel contusion, and while head coach Jason Kidd did not sound too concerned about it being a long-term issue, he said they are not sure about the extent of the injury.
"We'll see how he feels tomorrow, and I'll have a better update to give you," he said.
Any missed games would be an issue for the 28-25 Mavericks, who rose up to fourth place in the Western Conference with the win, but sit only three games ahead of the 13th-placed Oklahoma City Thunder in a tightly bunched race.
Dallas are winless in the six games Doncic has missed this campaign, and third-year guard Josh Green explained what their issues are without him.
"It's Luka," he said. "It's different [without him].
"It took our team a while to get used to it [against the Pelicans] – we're used to having Luka bring the ball up at a slow pace, and they realised it too.
"They were trying to make us play like we still had Luka by doubling Spencer [Dinwiddie] and trying to make it a slower game, when the guys we had on the court were not made for a slow game.
"It's a game of pace when Luka is not out there, and we need to realise that… it's about bringing a faster pace and not just playing how we're used to."
For the Pelicans, it was their 10th loss in a row as they desperately await the return of All-Star starter Zion Williamson from his hamstring injury.