LaMelo Ball, the top scorer for the Charlotte Hornets, has sustained a right ankle injury and will be out of play for multiple weeks. This is a blow for the Hornets, who had finally managed to field their full roster for one game before Ball was injured during the game against the Orlando Magic on Sunday. An MRI revealed a strained ankle, leaving the Hornets without their star player once again.
Ball, who was chosen third overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, has had a history of injuries, having missed 21 games during his rookie season due to a wrist injury. Despite this, he earned the NBA Rookie of the Year honors. Ball was healthy in his second season, making 75 appearances and even earning a spot on the 2022 NBA All-Star Team. However, his injury-prone nature seems to be catching up with him once again.
The Hornets’ head coach, Steve Clifford, expressed his frustration at the injuries, particularly having just seen his full lineup in action for the first time in two years. The team had been dealing with multiple injuries, and Ball’s absence will be keenly felt, especially as he was enjoying a career-high season, averaging 24.7 points, 8.2 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game with significantly improved shooting percentages.
With Ball out, the Hornets will need to rely on other players to step up, including veteran point guard Ish Smith and rookie shooting guard Brandon Miller. However, the team’s performance has suffered, losing two games since Ball’s injury and facing a challenging season, wherein they are currently ranked at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
The Hornets’ betting odds have also taken a hit, with experts considering them as long shots to win the Southeast Division and the 2023-24 NBA Championship. With Ball out and the team struggling, they will have to work hard to turn their season around.