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Mavs’ Luka Doncic to return from 7-game absence; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out

Luka Doncic, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Mavs

Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle previously stated the team would have no issue with Luka Doncic partaking in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game if it aligned with his recovery from a sprained ankle.

But Mavericks fans do not need to hold their breath.

Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News reported Doncic is active for Wednesday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings. Townsend also reported Michael Kidd-Gilchrist—whom the Mavs signed after he was bought out by the Charlotte Hornets—will not make his debut as he “needs more conditioning.”

While the Mavs hope Kidd-Gilchrist will eventually be an important contributor, they can take solace in knowing Doncic will be back in the rotation.

Doncic had missed Dallas’ last seven games with the aforementioned ankle sprain, and the Mavs exhibited caution with respect to his recovery especially considering this was the same injury that forced Doncic to miss four games in December.

The Mavericks have managed to hold steady in his absence, going 3-4 while still averaging over 116 points per game during that seven-game stretch.

Doncic has been sensational in his sophomore season, averaging 28.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.7 assists while helping to keep the Mavericks in playoff contention. Doncic leads the NBA in offensive box plus-minus (9.5) and ranks third in value over replacement player (4.8), per Basketball Reference.

For his part, Kidd-Gilchrist is hoping a change of scenery can revive his career. The former No. 2 overall pick played sparingly for the Hornets over the course of the last two years, but he is also the kind of rangy wing defender the Mavericks desperately need for the final stretch.