Luka Doncic practicing, optimistic for Game 3 or 4 return after calf strain

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Luka Doncic hasn’t yet been cleared to return to the court for the Dallas Mavericks, but there’s growing hope that he’ll be able to do so while the team is in Salt Lake City for their playoff series against the Utah Jazz.

Doncic participated in practice fully Wednesday, which marked the first time he’s done so since he strained his left calf in Dallas' regular-season finale. He’s listed as questionable for Game 3 of the series on Thursday night. The Jazz are 6.5-point favorites on BetMGM.

“We shouldn’t rush anything, but step by step, I think I’m doing a lot,” Doncic said, via ESPN. “I’m getting ready.”

Doncic went down with a left calf injury on April 10, and he missed the Mavs' first two games in the series because of it.

Though he and head coach Jason Kidd said he’d be a game-time decision, Doncic said he won't force anything.

"If there's going to be risk, I don't think I'm going to play," Doncic said, via ESPN. "But like I say, yesterday and today we did some good things. If it's not risk, I don't want to play limited minutes because I'll be nervous. I want to be out there the most time as possible, but like I say, I'm going to see how I feel and we're going to talk to the medical staff.

"I don't know if I'm going to be 100 percent. I think that's tough right now. But if I'm ready and there's no risk of [aggravating the] injury, I'll be out there."

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic is listed as questionable for Game 3 on Thursday against the Utah Jazz. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Mavericks got past the Jazz 110-104 in Game 2 of the series on Monday after a career-high 41 points from Jalen Brunson, a victory that tied up the series.

Doncic’s presence on the court would significantly change things for the Mavericks in the series. He averaged 28.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.7 assists this season.