At the start of 2022, Mavericks and fans alike were very eager and excited for the return of their 22 year old star player, Luka Doncic, after his December injury according to a Dallas Morning News article from January. In it they say,
“The Mavericks’ new year is off to a healthier start. The team did not list Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Maxi Kleber on its status report Saturday, ahead of Sunday night’s matchup in Oklahoma City.
That means the three have cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols and are eligible to play for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19 in the days before Christmas.
Doncic’s absence has been especially long.
The 22-year-old All-Star has not played since the Mavericks’ Dec. 10 loss in Indiana, when he retwisted his left ankle that didn’t fully heal after he first sprained it Nov. 15. He missed five consecutive games with ankle soreness before testing positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 22 and missing five more.”
The following day, Doncic did not disappoint as he and the Mavericks went head to head with the Oklahoma City Thunder according to a Dallas Morning News article from January 2. In it they say,
“Dallas stymied a late upset threat to win 95-86 against the shorthanded, rebuilding Thunder.
Doncic returned after missing 10 games with left ankle soreness and COVID-19 to come one rebound shy of a triple-double (14 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds), while Porzingis sat as a healthy scratch with a Monday night back-to-back matchup against Denver looming.
Doncic didn’t have to play the do-it-all All-Star role that Dallas often requires in victory, thanks to widespread production from reserves — including Marquese Chriss’ team-leading 15 points — and a Maxi Kleber 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining to extend Dallas’ lead to 7
The Mavericks didn’t expect Doncic to be at top conditioning and rhythm after sitting out 10 consecutive games — four more than he missed all of last season — and Kidd tweaked his rotation in response.”
Despite the marvelous performance of the Mavericks and Doncic himself, he reported that he was still feeling a little odd as his chest felt like it was burning when he took a shot and made an airball.