The Mavs was Luka Doncic go up for a dunk, go down hard to the floor ... and now hope that his injury is not too severe.

DALLAS - Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic exited the Thursday 111-106 victory over the visiting Pelicans after suffering a right heel contusion in the third quarter. ... an injury sustained when the MVP candidate took a hard fall to the AAC floor court after going up for a dunk.

Doncic, who'd recorded 31 points, eight rebounds and four assists to that time, attempted to stay in the game for a time before being shut down.

Said coach Jason Kidd on Doncic's injury: "We'll see how he feels (Friday). Then we'll have a better update to give you."

But for now, we have the thoughts of Jeff Stotts, the long-time contributor and "In Street Clothes'' injury expert who writes, "Heel contusions can be more complex than they sound. A thick layer of skin as well as a pad of fatty tissue surrounds the heel bone (calcaneus). All of these structures can be "contused."

And how long does an NBA player usually need to heal? Stotts says, "The average time lost for in-season heel contusions in the NBA is 1.8 games.''

Luka has often bounced back quickly from injury, most recently after he suffered an ankle sprain in Dallas’ 99-95 win over the Phoenix Suns last Thursday but returned to score 53 points in a win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

Good thing, too, because while Dallas is 28-25 after win over New Orleans - rather incredibly, good for fourth place in the West - the Mavericks without Luka in the lineup has meant problems.

"Problems,'' as in, Luka has missed six games this season.

Dallas has lost all six of those games.

Spencer Dinwiddie is asked to carry a bigger load with Luka out, and he did some of that against the Pels, with 21 points (while shooting just 4-19) and with the game-clinching free throws. Josh Green also picked up slack on Thursday as he totaled 15 points in 30 minutes off the bench. He shot 7-10 from the field and also recorded four rebounds and two steals.

Dallas next plays on Saturday against Golden State ... with Dinwiddle and company prepared to go without Luka ... and with MFFL's hoping that doesn't have to happen.

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2023-02-03T13:05:22Z dg43tfdfdgfd