Photo credit: Shane Roper-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Luka Doncic
- The NBA Injury Report is a daily piece that runs through the slate's key injuries and their betting and DFS impact.
- There are two key teams with injuries to analyze on Wednesday night: the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz.
- This piece will detail the impact of the injuries to Dennis Smith Jr., Luka Doncic, Ricky Rubio and more.
There are 10 games tonight with plenty of injuries and questionable players. We’ll analyze two key situations in this article: the Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks and the Orlando Magic at Utah Jazz.
Injuries: Dennis Smith Jr. (back) and Luka Doncic (back) are questionable. Dirk Nowitzki (illness) is doubtful.
Injury background: Smith missed Tuesday’s practice with a sore back, which was later diagnosed as mid-back tightness.
Doncic appeared on the injury report because of a strained lower back. There was no reporting of his availability during Tuesday’s practice.
Tonight’s impact: The primary ball-handlers on the Mavs are Smith and Doncic in the starting lineup, and J.J. Barea in the second unit. If Smith or Doncic doesn’t play, the other should receive a sizeable increase in offensive responsibility.
In the 12 games Smith has missed this season, Doncic has led the Mavs with a FantasyLabs’ +6.2 DraftKings Plus/Minus in 31.4 minutes per game, per the NBA On/Off tool. Doncic notched a team-high 6.8 assists per game sans Smith. That figure drops to 4.0 with Smith in the lineup.
Doncic has been listed questionable nine times, excluding tonight’s game. Despite all his ailments — a toenail issue, strained hips, bruised arm, bruised knee, bruised thigh, sore shoulder, sore ankle, sore back and illnesses — Doncic has missed just one game this season.
Without Doncic against the Clippers on December 2, Harrison Barnes attempted a career-high 28 shots and was the offensive hub. Smith was still dealing with a sprained shooting wrist at the time and had a string of games with a usage rate below 17%.
Dorian Finney-Smith started in Doncic’s only absence, but Maxi Kleber has been the replacement in the starting lineup most recently when Smith and Wesley Matthews sat.
Kleber has been phased out of the rotation since Dirk Nowitzki made his season debut. That said, if Smith or Doncic can’t play, coach Rick Carlisle may opt to start Kleber, whose Defensive Rating of 98.1 is the best among Mavs rotation players. Nowitzki’s 120.3 Defensive Rating ranks last.
The Mavs are 15-4 straight-up and 14-5 ATS at home, and the Suns are playing on the second night of a back-to-back and third game in four nights.
The Suns may be walking into a schedule loss, as predicted by ESPN’s Schedule Alert article. They may also not have Devin Booker (back) available, but his status has yet to be reported.
Injuries: Ricky Rubio (hamstring), Dante Exum (ankle), Thabo Sefolosha (hamstring) and Grayson Allen (ankle) are out.