Luka Doncic has sore neck, likely to play Sunday

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Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic said his neck was “pretty sore” due to a hard fall after a drive to the basket during Thursday’s 109-101 loss to the Phoenix Suns, but he was optimistic that he would not miss any time due to the injury. Doncic landed on his back after absorbing contact from Suns center Bismack Biyombo on a drive to the basket with 1:02 remaining in the third quarter. During the ensuing timeout, Doncic was hunched over on the bench while grabbing the back of his neck. After consulting with the Mavs’ athletic training staff, Doncic applied a heat pack to his neck before checking back in with 7:25 remaining and playing the rest of the game. “It’s my neck. It’s the spine,” said Doncic, who had 28 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and eight turnovers in the loss. “When I fall down, I hit my back. It’s pretty sore right now.”
Source: Tim MacMahon @ ESPN

What’s the buzz on Twitter?

Callie Caplan @CallieCaplan
Mavericks’ Luka Doncic gives update on neck after hard fall vs. Suns…11:37 PM

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon
Luka Doncic said his neck is “pretty sore right now,” but he’s optimistic that he will be ready to play Sunday vs. Grizzlies after “a lot of massages and steam room” the next two days. – 11:03 PM

Andrew Sharp @andrewsharp
Booker with another easy W over Luka?? No big deal to me. – 10:42 PM

Callie Caplan @CallieCaplan
Expect a lot of massages and steam room sessions for Luka Doncic over the next few days.
He can’t move his neck one way or another, and said it’s “a little worse” than the neck strain from the playoffs because it’s closer to his spine. – 10:37 PM

Callie Caplan @CallieCaplan
Jason Kidd didn’t have an update on Luka’s neck/shoulder injury, but said he didn’t notice him limited in Q4: “If he’s hurt, he’s still going to compete. That’s just who he is. He’s a gladiator. He’s going to fight.” – 10:11 PM

Michael Dugat @mdug
Someday the Mavs will have a player capable of stepping up consistently in the crunch beside Luka … or they won’t, but his next team may. – 9:56 PM

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet
Final: PHX 109, DAL 101
Booker: 27 Pts, 6 Ast, 5 Reb
Paul: 20 Pts, 11 Ast, 5 Reb
Bridges: 12 Pts, 8 Reb, 6 Ast, 4 Stl
Doncic: 28 Pts, 8 Ast, 8 Reb
Suns finish their road trip a perfect 5-0 – 9:55 PM

Kellan Olson @KellanOlson
Looks like Monty challenged that call. Didn’t appear that Biyombo ever touched Doncic and he definitely didn’t reach in so this is an interesting call. Officials almost always call that when guys shoot into a defender’s hands like that. – 9:41 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Doncic gets Biyombo running out. Hits bucket. Fouled by Biyombo.
Timeout #Suns. Tie game with 3:10 left. – 9:41 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Doncic bucket. #Mavs up one. – 9:34 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Doncic back in. #Mavs #Suns9:27 PM

Brad Townsend @townbrad
Reminds me of when Doncic hurt his neck/shoulder against the Clippers. Coudn’t turn his head during at least one of the playoff losses. – 9:26 PM

Michael Dugat @mdug
Did Luka essentially get a crick in his neck midgame after that fall? – 9:26 PM

Callie Caplan @CallieCaplan
Luka’s wincing as he rolls his neck around, but he’s set to check back in at the next break. – 9:25 PM

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet
End of 3Q: DAL 82, PHX 74
Booker: 22 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 10-20 FG
Paul: 10 Pts, 10 Ast, 2 Stl
Crowder: 10 Pts
Doncic: 24 Pts, 8 Ast, 7 Reb
Mavs close 3Q on 11-2 run – 9:17 PM

Kellan Olson @KellanOlson
Second-chance points killing the Suns the last couple possessions. Biyombo’s coming out to help on Doncic but the other guys haven’t been rebounding. – 9:14 PM

Callie Caplan @CallieCaplan
Luka took a hard fall and just sat down on the bench grabbing at his right shoulder/neck area. – 9:14 PM

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon
Luka Doncic is grabbing the back of his neck and in pain after that fall. – 9:14 PM

Eddie Sefko @ESefko
Luka’s going to have a sore neck after that one. – 9:14 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Bridges, Booker, Paul, Shamet and Johnson and Payne have guarded Doncic so far tonight.
Biyombo has guarded him on switches.
Who has done the best job on him?
Paul? Bridges? or someone else? #Suns, #Mavs tied at 72-72. – 9:11 PM

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet
The Suns have committed 5 turnovers. Luka Doncic has 8 – 9:08 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Paul takes on challenge to guard Luka Doncic.
Forces steal from behind, but #Suns unable to score on other end.
Then Finney-Smith gets 3 on other end.
Paul gets FTs after being fouled. #Suns up one. – 9:08 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
#Suns pick up full court, trapping Doncic.
Wait for Chris Paul scream. PM

Brad Townsend @townbrad
Brunson running the point essentially allows Doncic to play shooting guard, small forward and power forward, depending on the possession. Makes him even more of a load to guard. – 8:56 PM

Kellan Olson @KellanOlson
With Doncic in the post this much it’s funny how Ayton of all people is probably the best matchup for him. They really miss DA in this for a whole lot of reasons. – 8:55 PM

Brad Townsend @townbrad
Did Doncic’s pass go through Paul’s legs? Nutmeg? – 8:51 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Doncic looking to overpower Bridges, but doesn’t score.
Paul scores on other end. 59-52. #Suns8:51 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
#Suns: Booker 16. #Mavs: Doncic 19. – 8:46 PM

Chuck Cooperstein @coopmavs
Can the Mavs end the 8 game slide vs PHX? So far so good. a 53-45 lead at half. An electric end to the half w/A Luka basket, steal and 3ptr in the final 2.6 seconds. 19-5-4 for Doncic. mavs hold PHX to 37.8% FG. 2-17 from 3. 2nd half soon @theeagledallas8:45 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
#Suns led 32-28 with 8:27 in 1st half.
#Mavs answered with 25-13 run to take 53-45 halftime lead.
Suns trailed by 3 after Cam Johnson 3 ended 16 straight misses from 3.
Doncic answered with 5 points, hitting 3 at horn off Crowder turnover.
PHX: 2-of-19 3PT. DAL: 7-of-20 3PT. – 8:43 PM

Eurohoops @Eurohoopsnet

Brad Townsend @townbrad
Doncic’s steal and 3-pointer broke Twitter, apparently. – 8:42 PM

Eddie Sefko @ESefko
Luka Doncic with five points in the final 2 seconds of the first half — a turnaround in the paint, a steal of a Jae Crowder pass and a quick 3-pointer. Mavericks up 53-45 at the break. – 8:41 PM

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet
Halftime: DAL 53, PHX 45
Booker: 16 Pts, 7-15 FG
Paul: 6 Pts, 6 Ast
Cam Johnson: 5 Pts, 5 Reb
Doncic: 19 Pts, 5 Ast, 4 Reb
PHX: 2-19 3P; DAL: 7-20 3P – 8:31 PM

Michael Dugat @mdug
Lol … Luka – 8:31 PM

Kellan Olson @KellanOlson
Oof. Suns nearly escape a terrible shooting half to be within one possession and then Doncic scores 5 points in 3 seconds. Can’t let that inbound happen. – 8:31 PM

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet
Terrible pass to close the half. Picked up by Doncic and turned into a 3. Suddenly down 8 instead of 5 at halftime – 8:30 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
#Suns coaches were screaming watch the lob.
Doncic to Kleber lob dunk.
Down six. – 8:18 PM

Brad Townsend @townbrad
Has Reggie said anything about Doncic’s weight tonight? – 8:15 PM

Eddie Sefko @ESefko
A little wraparound pass from Doncic to Porzingis for a triple and the Mavericks are up 36-32 midway through the second. Both Mavs have 11 points. – 8:13 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Doncic to Hardaway 3.
Porzingis lob dunk. #Suns down one. – 8:12 PM

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet
Lmao @ Chris Paul pulling the chair on Luka Doncic and then staring down at him waiting for him to get up – 8:05 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Payne defending with his chest and arms out on Doncic.
Missed shot.
Booker turned ball over with behind-the-back pass to Biyombo in traffic.
Then #Mavs turn ball over. Shamet steal.
Get the picture?
Mavs 26 #Suns 22 after one.
Defensive game. Mavs 4 turnovers. Suns 3 – 8:01 PM

Callie Caplan @CallieCaplan
Long way to go, but Luka scored 11 points in Q1, which puts him on pace to surpass his season high in scoring (41 points) that he set last night. – 8:01 PM

Gerald Bourguet @GeraldBourguet
End of 1Q: DAL 26, PHX 22
Booker: 12 Pts, 5-10 FG
Paul: 0 Pts, 6 Ast
McGee: 4 Pts, 2 Reb
Doncic: 11 Pts, 2 Ast, 3-7 FG
Mavs close 1Q on 9-2 run – 7:59 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Doncic 3. #Suns down six. Has 11. – 7:57 PM

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon
Chris Paul spent the entire timeout talking to two of the refs. Based on body language, I believe he was lobbying for Luka Doncic to be called for offensive fouls when he plays bully ball and backs down his defender. – 7:55 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Paul took on challenge earlier in guarding Doncic, who has six on 2-of-5 shooting. #Suns7:49 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Doncic scores over Biyombo after a few dribbles.
Then Bridges scores on floater, followed by Booker scoring over Brunson.
Booker hits FT. #Suns up one. – 7:48 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
Doncic turns ball over trying to score on Bridges.
Then Bridges does the handshake with Crowder.
Booker scores. Tied at 13-13. #Suns7:44 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
“He’s too small to cover Luka Doncic.”
ESPN Radio’s P.J. Carlesimo when Doncic scored on Devin Booker on the inside.
#Mavs on 13-6 run after falling behind 5-0.
#Suns 4-of-11 (1-of-5 on 3s).
#Mavs 5-of-12 (2-of-8 on 3s). – 7:43 PM

Jeff Wade @SkinWade
Charles has gotta love the way Luka just bodies these dudes on offense – 7:39 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
5-0 #Suns. McGee bucket over Doncic.
Mavs made mistake in introducing Deandre Ayton instead of JaVale McGee as a starter.
Ayton is out with ankle injury. – 7:35 PM

Callie Caplan @CallieCaplan
On the second night of this abck to back, some Mavs are being held together by tape … at least kind of.
Luka has his left middle finger wrapped. THJ has his left middle and ring fingers taped together. Jalen Brunson’s got K-tape on his left shoulder. – 7:33 PM

Chuck Cooperstein @coopmavs
Mavs starters: DFS, Kleber, Porzingis, Brunson, Doncic
PHX starters: Bridges, Crowder, McGee, Booker, Paul
6:32 tip @theeagledallas7:04 PM

Callie Caplan @CallieCaplan
Jason Kidd on Luka buying into Mavs’ defensive focus: “He’ll let you know when he has 3 blocks [and say] he should be on first team all-defense. That’s fun because he has that Magic Johnson, Giannis fun. Understanding that might not be his strength, but he’s giving everything.” – 6:25 PM

Ryan Wolstat @WolstatSun
Raptors blog muses about a deal with the Mavericks and which player you’d take first if building a team (Luka Doncic would be my choice):…5:19 PM

Damichael Cole @DamichaelC
I thought the Grizzlies-Mavs game on ESPN would probably close the gap a little on Ja Morant’s distance from Luka Doncic in fan voting. Turns out, the gap got even bigger. If players and media feel the same, Ja Morant will be starting in the All-Star game. – 1:19 PM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
#NBAAllStar 3rd fan vote returns:
Devin Booker still 5th behind Steph Curry, Ja Morant, Luka Doncic, Klay Thompson in West backcourt starter voting.
Chris Paul remains 7th behind Russell Westbrook. Deandre Ayton still 10th in West frontcourt voting.
Voting ends Saturday. #Suns1:06 PM

Peter Edmiston @peteredmiston
Ja Morant has continued to push ahead of Luka Doncic and now looks set to finish 2nd among West guards. Starting spot well within reach. PM

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon
Luka Doncic passed a conditioning test with flying colors last night, when he had a 41-14-7 line in 42 minutes against the Raptors, capping the performance with a clutch 3 in the final minute.
Another major test tonight: facing the NBA-leading Suns on a back-to-back. – 12:13 PM

JD Shaw @JShawNBA
NBA’s best from January 19:
– J. Embiid: 50 pts, 12 reb, 3 blk
– N. Jokic: 49 pts, 14 reb, 10 ast
– L. Doncic: 41 pts, 14 reb, 7 ast
– T. Young: 37 pts, 5 reb, 14 ast
– Giannis: 33 pts, 15 reb, 7 ast
– J. Morant: 33 pts, 8 reb, 14 ast
– D. Murray: 23 pts, 10 reb, 14 ast – 11:04 AM

Justin Kubatko @jkubatko
LaMelo Ball last night:
✅ 15 PTS
✅ 10 REB
✅ 10 AST
Ball now has four career triple-doubles.
The only players in NBA history with more triple-doubles before their 21st birthday are Luka Doncic (21), Magic Johnson (7), and LeBron James (5). AM

Justin Kubatko @jkubatko
Luka Doncic last night:
✅ 41 PTS
✅ 14 REB
✅ 7 AST
It’s the third time Doncic has recorded at least 40p/10r/5a in a game, breaking a tie with Dirk Nowitzki and Jim Jackson for the most such games in @Dallas Mavericks history. AM

Justin Kubatko @jkubatko
Eight players recorded a 30-point double-double last night:
✅ Joel Embiid
✅ Nikola Jokic
✅ Luka Doncic
✅ Trae Young
✅ Giannis Antetokounmpo
✅ Ja Morant
✅ Ivica Zubac
✅ LeBron James
That ties the NBA record for most 30-point double-doubles in a single day. AM

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin
“They have the best record in the league. They have an amazing team. You saw last year and you (see) this year. We’ve just got to play hard, play our game, play the way we’re playing the whole day, and just try to stop them.”
Luka Doncic, #Mavs vs. #Suns AM

Emiliano Carchia @Sportando
Luka Goes Off For 41 PTS, 14 REB & 7 AST In The Clutch W…7:20 AM

More on this storyline

Doncic played despite a neck strain during last season’s playoffs, but it affected his performance during Dallas’ Game 4 loss to the LA Clippers, when he had series lows of 19 points, six rebounds and six assists in a lopsided loss. As was the case with that injury, Doncic said the range of motion in his neck was limited, and that looking to either side was difficult. “I think it’s a little worse because it’s the spine,” Doncic said. “But it’ll be OK in a couple days.” -via ESPN / January 21, 2022

Tim MacMahon: Luka Doncic (ankle) will play tonight vs. Bulls, per Mavs acting head coach Sean Sweeney. -via Twitter @espn_macmahon / January 9, 2022

Marc Stein: The Mavericks say Luka Dončić (right ankle sprain) is questionable for tomorrow night’s game against Chicago. -via Twitter @TheSteinLine / January 8, 2022