Injury Updates: Doncic, Booker, Barnes, Simmons

Asked on Friday if he’s optimistic about Luka Doncic‘s odds of returning from his left calf strain in Game 4 of the team’s series vs. Utah on Saturday, Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd replied, “Optimistic? That’s a good word. … He’s going in the right direction.”

As Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News writes, neither Doncic nor Kidd would guarantee that the All-NBA guard would be active on Saturday, preferring to emphasize caution. Doncic said he’ll do some more 5-on-5 work in practice today before any decisions are made about his status, but it sounds like it will once again be a game-time call.

The possibility of aggravating the injury will be an important consideration for the Mavericks and Doncic as they determine whether he’s ready to return. Doncic said today that it would have been “too much” risk to play in Game 3 on Thursday for that reason (Twitter link via Marc Stein). As it turned out, the Mavs didn’t need him, as Jalen Brunson led the team to a crucial win in Utah to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Following up on Brian Windhorst’s report that Suns guard Devin Booker could miss two or three weeks due to his right hamstring strain, ESPN’s Zach Lowe (video link) said he has heard optimism that Booker’s timeline should be much closer to two weeks than three.
  • Raptors head coach Nick Nurse spoke after Wednesday’s Game 3 loss as if he expected rookie Scottie Barnes (left ankle sprain) to return for Game 4, but he tempered expectations on Barnes today, telling reporters that the forward is making progress but is doubtful to play on Saturday (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN). Nurse added that the series score isn’t a factor in determining Barnes’ availability — the team wants to get him more playoff experience, so if he’s ready to play, he’ll play (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of
  • It appears Ben Simmons won’t be ready to play in Game 3 of the Nets‘ series vs. Boston on Saturday, but he told reporters today he’s “very hopeful” about returning soon and confirmed that Monday’s Game 4 looks like a “reasonable” target to make his Brooklyn debut, per Peter Botte of The New York Post. Shams Charania reported on Thursday that Simmons plans to play in Game 4.
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