Don’t expect to see LaMelo Ball in uniform for a while.
An MRI confirmed the Charlotte Hornets’ star point guard sustained a sprained right ankle on Sunday in Orlando, the team announced Thursday night. He will be re-evaluated again in one week, the team said. No specific timetable was given for his return to action and he’s currently using an arm crutch to get around while in a walking boot.
Still, the Hornets are glad it’s not something worse.
“Absolutely,” coach Steve Clifford said after Thursday’s win over Brooklyn. “I hope he comes back soon.”
Ball went up for a left-handed layup with 2:26 remaining in the second quarter against the Magic and got slightly tangled up with Orlando’s Paolo Banchero, making him crumple to the court in agony and lay motionless. Ball injured the same ankle he had surgery on in March, the very ailment that kept him getting cleared for full basketball activities until September. During media day, Ball mentioned he planned to wear ankle braces this season, hoping it would help keep him healthy. But he apparently shed them due to discomfort.
Ball hasn’t made it through a full schedule since entering the league in 2021, logging only 36 games last season due to injuring his ankles four times. Before going down, he knocked off the rust that held him back at the season’s outset, averaging 33.8 points in his last five games.
But now he’s set for more rehab, which has been a frequent occurrence during his time in Charlotte , and it’s up to his teammates to hold things down until he returns.
“We’ve got a great locker room of guys,” Terry Rozier said. “We’ve got a great team. Obviously, we haven’t played at full strength in two years. So, we are just trying to get that back, and have everybody playing so we can be at full strength and really show what we can do.”