Charlotte Hornets guard LaMello Ball, widely regarded as the leading candidate to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award, has a fractured bone in his right wrist and is out indefinitely, the team announced Sunday night.
Ball underwent a magnetic resonance imaging test in San Antonio on Sunday as the Hornets prepared for a road game against the Spurs on Monday and are expected to be lost for the season. The 19-year-old Ball made a hard landing on the wrist Saturday night after driving the basket in the first half of the team’s road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. A Southern California resident, Ball tried to play through pain from a wrist covered by protective tape in the second part.
The ball injury was the latest for marquee players around the league in recent times. The Los Angeles Lakers, already playing without injured Anthony Davis, lost LeBron James indefinitely as James sustained a high ankle sprain in the loss on Saturday in Atlanta. Earlier in the week, Golden State lost Stephen Curry (tailbone fusion) and Drymond Green (ankle) to injuries.
Overall third by the Hornets in November, Ball averaged 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.59 steals per game; He ranks seventh in the league in steals per game. Boston’s Celtics – Ball combined with the strong play of free-agent newcomer Gordon Heyward and second-year Hornet Terry Rozier – helped the Charlotte challenge the playoffs from the playseen spot for the playoffs after four consecutive seasons.
Ball became a starter in Miami on February 1 and has averaged 19.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.7 steals since the move. Amid much skepticism leading to the draft regarding his ability to convert from the perimeter, Ball has shot 46.4 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from 3-point range in his 21s.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan recently told The Associated Press, “I think that Melo has gotten better at an NBA game that none of us thought of early in our career. He did this season. Has so far exceeded our expectations. “
Ball was called the Eastern Conference Cheater of the Month in both January and February, and was the only rogue in the last 60 years to lead, rebel, assist and steal all first-year players in the all-star break.
If Ball is unable to play again this season, he will appear in 72 of 41 matches in Charlate – about 57 percent. Patrick Ewing won Rookie of the Year honors in 1985–86, with the lowest percentage (nearly 61 percent) played in league history after appearing in 50 of the Knicks’ 82 games that season.
New Orleans younger brother Pelican guard Lonzo Ball, Lamello Ball was selected by the Hornets in the 2020 draft, Minnesota guard Anthony Edwards and Golden State selected center James Wiseman.
Lonzo Ball, currently in his fourth NBA season after being drafted by the Lakers to No. 2 all-time in 2017, is one of the most iconic players ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. The New York Times reported on Friday that the Clippers are among the teams that have followed them.