Luka is OUT for Jazz at Mavs GAMEDAY: KP vs. Gobert in a Big-Man Challenge

Mike Fisher

DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks anticipate the return from an ankle injury by superstar Luka Doncic - not tonight, but soon - and in the meantime get an opportunity to succeed against a quality opponent in the Utah Jazz, Monday visitors to the AAC.

“The important thing now is to work on our health going into the break and do everything we can to win some games,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Our hope is (Doncic) will be able to play before the break. That’s the hope. Not definite, but we’re hopeful.”

Dallas is taking great care with Luka while at the same time wanting him back on the floor both this week, for the Mavs, and next week, for the Feb. 16 NBA All-Star Game. In the meantime? yeah, a quality opponent.

Game Time: 7:30 p.m. CT

Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas

TV/Radio: FSSW, 103.3 FM, Univision, 1270 AM (Spanish)

Records: Mavericks (32-21), Jazz (34-18)

Utah is coming off the second night of a back-to-back, a 114-113 against the Rockets. Overall, they have quietly build a contending roster than in many ways features center Rudy Gobert - and anybody who thinks "the center position doesn't matter anymore'' might want to check out Rudy on any given night - or the last time these two teams played, in Utah, when Gobert was good for 22 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks - including a twisting game-saving block of a Delon Wright layup try in the final seconds of the game.

The Mavs' best answer for Rudy in their own biggest man, Kristaps Porzingis, who uses Carlisle's "geometry'' to stretch the floor and become a matchup nightmare ... as long as he's hitting those treys.

Seth Curry has been a hot helper outside, and inside, so has Willie Cauley-Stein, who recorded a double-double (25 minutes, 15 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting night and 10 rebounds to go with two blocks) in a victory at Charlotte.

The 75-Member Staff of will be at the AAC tonight ... come say hello as we check in on a Utah team battling for a top-four spot in the West, and a Dallas team working to climb up from the seventh slot.