Luka Doncic isn't at a hundred percent. The Dallas Mavericks star was clearly hampered during their Game 4 loss against the Los Angeles Clippers.
But instead of the usual nicks and bruises towards a player's knee, arm, or hamstring, the Mavs star has been held back by a lingering neck injury. His head coach Rick Carlisle spoke out about how badly it's hampered Doncic:
“He's in pain. It appeared to me that he couldn't turn left, couldn't look to his left, and that's difficult for a guy that relies on peripheral vision and basically has played his whole life with his head on a swivel.” (via Mavs reporter Callie Caplan)
Carlisle's words ring very true, even if Luka himself wouldn't like to admit it. For a player like Doncic who orchestrates the entire offense with his vision and passing, being unable to freely move your head is a terrible fate. It'd be a different story for spot-up shooters or rim-protectors who have much more simplistic roles on the court.
But ask Luka Doncic himself and he won't give himself any excuses for playing poorly. The Mavs frontman finished with just 19 points on 9-for-24 shooting from the field, after averaging exactly double that total through Games 1 to 3.
“I don’t think that matters right now. … I played terrible, so we just got to move on to the next one.”
Luka on the Game 4 loss and dealing with a nerve issue in his neck ⁰⁰(via @NBAonTNT) pic.twitter.com/nTz2yKxbQf
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 31, 2021
Nevertheless, the Mavs star will have to tough it out as the series shifts back to Los Angeles for Game 5.