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Mavericks confirm calf strain for Luka Doncic, no official return timetable

After the Mavs confirmed a calf strain for Luka Doncic with no official timetable for his return, Kurt Helin previews the series against the Jazz and details how his potential absence would affect Dallas.

The Dallas Mavericks’ Mr. Everything Luka Doncic limped off the floor during the season’s final game with what the team called a calf strain. He did not return.

The team announced Tuesday that an MRI confirmed a calf strain, however, they did not put a grade on it nor list a timetable for his return.

The Mavericks open the playoffs Saturday at 1 p.m. ET, hosting the Utah Jazz. Dallas is not required to list Doncic’s playing status for that game — probable, questionable, out — until Friday night. It’s savvy gamesmanship to keep the Jazz in the dark as long as possible (although Utah will certainly plan as if he is going to play). Kidd was in full gamesmanship mode Tuesday.

The average time missed for a calf strain this season is 16 days, but it has been as low as three, according to Jeff Stotts of InStreetClothes. It depends on the grade of the strain and where it is in the calf muscle.

Doncic is an MVP-level player who is the hub of everything in the Mavericks’ offense. He averaged 28.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 8.4 assists a game this season, and the Dallas offense is 4.4 points per 100 possessions worse when he is off the court. If Doncic is out or even slowed in this series, it is a huge advantage for the Jazz.