LaMelo Ball of the Hornets is Likely Done for the Season Due to An Ankle Injury
After breaking his right ankle in Charlotte’s 117-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, point guard LaMelo Ball’s frustrating and injury-plagued season may be over.
Ball has already missed 27 games this season due to three separate ankle sprains that began in the preseason. Before the point guard went down in the third quarter on a non-contact play, he and the Hornets (20-43) were playing their best basketball of the year.
Ball’s ankle fracture was discovered by X-rays.
“It sucks,” Gordon Hayward, the swingman for the Hornets, shook his head. “The worst part of playing is getting hurt.”
Ball had five straight double-doubles when he entered the contest, and with 9:26 remaining in the frame, he appeared to be on his way to another with 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
He was also shooting the ball extremely well from deep, having made 47.3% (27 of 57) of his 3-point shots over the last five games. In the matchup with the Pistons, he shot 6 of 7 from beyond the arc.
The team’s five-game winning streak was the longest of the season for Charlotte.
“We were starting to figure it out as a team,” Hayward said. “He and I were starting to build (chemistry). I think me personally, I was starting to build a good relationship with him on the court and we were finding easy buckets for each other. Some of that is what we’ve gone through the whole year, not being able to build that out on the court with different guys being injured. Him at the beginning of the season, then me right after that, and now him again. It’s been back and forth with different people through the year, which is tough.”
Prior to collapsing, Ball had just dribbled behind his back and appeared to be positioning himself to work off a screen from center Mark Williams beyond the 3-point line. He seized the stray ball and threw it to Williams, who found a teammate for a goal.
To the locker room was taken the ball.
Hayward said players figured he had “tweaked something,” not knowing the extent of the injury until after the game.
How long Ball would be out was left unclear by Hornets coach Steve Clifford. But it seems unlikely that the team would rush him back given the seriousness of the injury and the fact that the Hornets only have 19 games left and are not in the running for the playoffs.
“The only thing you can do is watch the film, learn from it and then focus on what we have to do tomorrow in practice to get ready for (the next game). Unfortunately, we’re experienced at playing without all of them, so it’s not like it’s going to be brand new,” Clifford said. “It’s tough, too, because he was starting to play so well, and the team obviously was playing better and better. They’re not going to wait for us.”
After the game, Ball received a text from Hayward, but neither of them had spoken.
“I think that is the most important thing when you are injured — stay positive and have a good support system around you including your teammates, family and friends,” said Hayward, who broke an ankle on an awkward landing in 2017 while playing for Boston. “He’s young and he will bounce back but it is always tough in the moment.”