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Luka Doncic says leg injury is 'not okay,' but he played through it

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Luka Doncic has been the best player during the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, and he's been doing it on one leg.

Doncic has been battling a leg injury since the second half of the 2022-23 NBA season and when asked about the injury, Doncic said it's "not okay," per Sports Illustrated.

"I do not know what to say," Doncic said. "It's not okay. At the same time, I have to prepare for one more game, and then for a whole season in the NBA."

Doncic has been incredible throughout the World Cup, becoming the first player with 200+ points, 50+ rebounds and 40+ assists in a single World Cup over the last 30 years. Through eight games, he averaged 27 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.5 steals per game.

Even though Slovenia had no chance of winning a medal, he decided to continue playing and led the team to a seventh-place finish. 

"There was no question at all [I would continue playing]," Doncic said. "As I have said many times, whenever I can, I will play for the national team. There is no question for me. The crowd here is cheering for us, so the atmosphere is really great."

Luka Doncic came two dimes short of the World Cup's first-ever triple double to power Slovenia's win over Italy and earn TCL Player of the Game honors 👏

📊 29 PTS | 10 REB | 8 AST | 3 STL | 32 EFF#FIBAWC x #WinForSlovenia 🇸🇮 | #InspireGreatness pic.twitter.com/8ScQNdTdsl

— FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 🏆 (@FIBAWC) September 9, 2023

When asked about staying motivated even though Slovenia couldn't win a medal, Doncic replied: "It shouldn't be difficult. It's the World Cup after all. We made it to the top-eight. I don't see why that would be difficult. Playing basketball is already a great motivation for me, especially for the national team."

Doncic could have pulled out of the World Cup to recover, but representing his country on a big stage is clearly important to him. 

It remains to be seen if Doncic's leg will continue to bother him as he suits up with the Dallas Mavericks throughout the 2023-24 NBA season.

Doncic is coming off a monster season with Dallas in which he averaged 32.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 2.8 threes and 1.4 steals, while shooting 49.6% from the field, 34.2% from three-point range and 74.2% from the free-throw line.

However, the Mavericks struggled as a team, finishing the year with a 38-44 record (11th-best in the Western Conference), causing Dallas to miss the play-in tournament. Now, with a full season of the Doncic and Kyrie Irving one-two punch, a return to the postseason is expected.

Doncic will have about three weeks to rest before the Mavs' training camp gets underway.

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