Luka Doncic enters NBA health and safety protocols as COVID-19 continues to spread through league

Luka Doncic's return from an ankle injury will take longer than expected. The Dallas Mavericks placed Doncic in the NBA's health and safety protocols Wednesday, the team announced.

Doncic is dealing with an ankle injury and has not played in the team's last five games. He was hoping to return for Thursday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks, per Marc Stein.

Doncic is averaging 25.6 points, 8.5 assists and eight rebounds for the Mavericks. The team is 15-15 and sits in the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference.

In addition to Doncic, the Mavericks also placed Trey Burke in the league's health and safety protocols. With those moves, Dallas has six players going through protocols. The team reportedly signed six replacement players in an attempt to continue playing.

NBA postponing games during COVID-19 surge

The NBA has postponed games due to the surging COVID-19 numbers across the league. The league postponed three games Sunday, a game Monday and a game Tuesday due to health and safety issues. The NBA also postponed a couple of Chicago Bulls games as the team dealt with an outbreak.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke Tuesday, saying he has no plans to stop the NBA season due to COVID-19. On Wednesday, the NBA postponed two more games that were set to be played Thursday.

Luka Doncic with the Mavericks.
Luka Doncic was placed in the NBA's health and safety protocols Wednesday. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)