Just when the Dallas Mavericks hoped star Luka Doncic was nearing a return from an ankle injury, he's entered the NBA's health and safety protocol, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.
Trey Burke also entered the protocol, per The Athletic.
Doncic sprained his left ankle on November 15 in a 111-101 loss to the Denver Nuggets. He aggravated it in the third quarter of the December 10 loss to the Indiana Pacers. He played 37 minutes in that game, scoring 17 points and posting 9 rebounds and 9 assists, but has missed the past 5 games.
On the season, Doncic, 22, is averaging 25.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists in 35.0 minutes per game. The 2-time First-Team All-NBA performer has averaged 25.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.8 assists over 220 career games (all starts).
Burke, 29, has spent parts of 4 seasons with the Mavericks. In 18 games off the bench this season, he's averaging 7.5 points, 2.2 assists and 1.2 rebounds.
In 9 NBA seasons (474 games) with the Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Mavericks, Burke has career averages of 9.9 points, 3.2 assists and 1.8 rebounds.
For the Mavericks, power forward Maxi Kleber and guard Josh Green also are in the protocol, and big man Kristaps Porzingis is nursing a sore right foot.
The Mavericks are scheduled to host the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday night, then travel to Utah to meet the Jazz in a Christmas night showdown.
Nerlens Noel enters COVID protocol
New York Knicks forward Nerlens Noel also entered the NBA's health and safety protocols, ESPN reported Wednesday.
Noel will become the Knicks' 7th player on the list, joining forwards Obi Toppin and Kevin Knox II, as well as guards Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, Miles McBride and Quentin Grimes.
Noel, 27, is averaging 3.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 17 games (10 starts) this season.
The Knicks (14-17) have won 2 of their last 3 games heading into Thursday's contest against the visiting Washington Wizards.