Dr. Chao: A Look At Luka Doncic’s Best- And Worst-Case Scenarios

Videos by OutKick

Big injury news that could change the landscape of the NBA playoffs — Mavericks star Luka Doncic is listed as questionable for Game 4 vs. the Clippers with a cervical strain.

The worry is that this injury seems likely to be related to a herniated disc in his neck pressing on a nerve, and that it could have a lingering impact for this series and more.

Of course, the severity the nerve compression and symptoms cannot be known without an exam or imaging, but the fact is once this happens it does not resolve overnight. The best hope is that Doncic can manage the symptoms and play through them.

The worst-case scenario would mean surgery and the end of his season, and certainly no one hopes or expect that to be the case.

This issue is not just his cervical strain but the arm complaints, described as a “weird feeling,” are consistent with the aforementioned nerve compression. Doncic felt pain at the half and wore a wrap around his shoulder and neck area while on the bench, receiving some treatment via massage before finishing with a career playoff-best 44 points.

There was no clear incident leading to the injury — which is consistent with this type of injury, which can happen out of the blue.

It seems clear that Doncic will need to manage this cervical disc herniation and radiculopathy throughout the rest of these playoffs and the implications could be major for the Mavericks if he can’t.

Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply