When it rains it pours. The Dallas Mavericks can’t escape injuries to star players during a critical stretch of the season. Ahead of Wednesday night’s crucial matchup with the Golden State Warriors, questions remain about who is available.
Tuesday, the Mavericks announced that Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and Markieff Morris are all questionable Wednesday.
Luka Dončić (left thigh strain), Kyrie Irving (right foot soreness) and Markieff Morris (left knee soreness) are all questionable for tomorrow night’s game against the Warriors.— Mavs PR (@MavsPR) March 21, 2023
Doncic missed his fifth straight game Monday night as the Dallas fell to the Memphis Grizzlies due to a left thigh strain. He had hoped to return that night, and the Mavericks could have used his scoring as they blew a 16-point lead.
“Our health — this is what we have, this is the cards we’re dealt just like anybody in this league,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said after the loss. “We gotta play with the cards that we had tonight.”
As concerning as Doncic’s continued absence is Irving’s reappearance on the injury report. He has been dealing with a sore right foot and missed three consecutive games before playing in the last two.
It looked like Irving may have re-aggravated his injury after Memphis guard Dillon Brooks stepped on his foot. Irving left the game in a walking boot, but he told reporters after the game that the boot was precautionary.
“Just an aggravation, re-aggravation of my foot. Unfortunate play,” Irving said. “I would have felt different up here if I felt Dillon did it on purpose, but I didn’t. It’s just one of those plays where he’s trailing me, and I think his feet got caught up with mine, and I twisted my ankle. Just bad timing, but the game has to keep going on.”
Despite re-aggravating the injury, Irving plans to do everything possible to be ready to play against the Warriors.
Kyrie Irving said he reaggravated the right foot soreness/big toe pain when Dillon Brooks stepped on his heel in the third quarter.— Callie Caplan (@CallieCaplan) March 21, 2023
Said the boot is “precautionary” and he plans to “exhaust all options in the next 48 hours” to heal the injury and minimize missed time.
If there is a bright spot to the recent injury report, it’s that Jaden Hardy isn’t on it. The Mavericks’ rookie was the only player to make a field goal in the fourth quarter, but he checked out with five minutes remaining. What wasn’t public when Hardy went to the bench was that he may have injured himself.
“Looking at Hardy, he stepped on someone’s foot when he was backtracking,” Kidd said. “I, and the rest of the coaching staff, looked at going with some experience once we thought he was hurt.”
If neither Doncic nor Irving are able to go Wednesday, beating the Warriors gets that much tougher even with Golden State’s abysmal road record. There’s also seeding implications on the line. A win would lift the Mavericks over the Warriors in the standings. A loss would see Dallas fall further into the play-in tournament.
For now, injuries are the name of the game for Dallas. Whether or not they can overcome them will make or break their season.
“Just understand we’re getting better,” Kidd said. “It’s just a matter of can we be healthy in time to make a stretch run. If we’re not, that’s just the season. No one’s dying.”