The Dallas Mavericks came away with a crucial win over the Denver Nuggets Monday night, with huge performances from both Luka Doncic (23 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds), and Kristaps Porzingis (29 points, 11 rebounds). But the win came with a cost, as Doncic left the game in the closing minutes with an ankle injury.
The injury occurred with less than a minute remaining in the game, as Doncic went up to contest a shot by Nuggets' Austin Rivers. As Doncic landed, Rivers caught Doncic's left ankle, causing it to roll as he tried to pull it away.
He managed to leave the floor under his own power, but had a noticeable limp as he headed to the locker room. Tests on Tuesday showed no damage to Doncic's ankle or knee, but ESPN's Tim MacMahon reports that while the injury is "not too serious," Doncic is expected to miss some time for Dallas.
The good news is that it sounds like Doncic won't be out for too long with the ankle injury. But given how important he is to this team, any time missed is detrimental. Doncic is at the center of everything the Mavericks do on offense, as he leads the team in points per game (24.9), rebounds (8.3) and assists (7.9).
However, while the Mavericks won't be able to completely replace Doncic's production, they do have guard Jalen Brunson who is capable of filling that role in the starting lineup. Brunson is having a career year to start this season, averaging 15.1 points, 4.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds. In his lone start this season against the San Antonio Spurs, he finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Putting Brunson in the starting lineup in place of Doncic while his ankle heals should soften the blow for Dallas.
The Mavericks will also rely upon Porzingis, who since returning from missing five games for back tightness, is averaging 23.2 points, nine rebounds and is shooting 41.9 percent from deep. If he can consistently put up those numbers, then the Mavericks should fare well for a short period of time with Doncic sidelined.