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Charlotte Hornets have suffered another setback despite their best efforts, with star point guard LaMelo Ball likely missing the remainder of the season due to a fractured right ankle. This is an enormous blow for a team that hasn't been competitive this year and currently sits at 20-43.
Given his history of ankle injuries, it's not unexpected that Ball could be out for some time. Hopefully the Hornets take great care in his recovery so he doesn't miss any additional playing time.
Hornets star LaMelo Ball has been declared out for the remainder of the season due to a fractured ankle, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. Ball suffered the non-contact injury while trying to make a crossover move during Monday's game against Detroit Pistons; upon leaving the game, examination revealed that he had sustained a fracture in his right ankle.
It should come as no surprise that the Hornets star will miss the remainder of this season due to ankle injuries he's been dealing with this past year. A left ankle sprain forced him out for 13 games earlier in the season, and an aggravation of that injury required him to sit out another 11 contests.
Now that Ball has suffered a fractured ankle, the Hornets must take a longer-term view when building for their future around their young star. Thankfully, this isn't the end of his playing days and we may see him back in action soon enough.
However, the Hornets won't be able to build a reliable rotation around Ball this season if they don't get him healthy in time. He was averaging 23.5 points, 8.2 assists and 3.0 steals per game when healthy this season; so it's hard to imagine him not being back at his old form when fully recovered.
He'll need the assistance of Dennis Smith and Bryce McGowens to fulfill the duties of a point guard, but it appears likely that the 2020-21 Rookie of the Year will return sooner rather than later. Rozier may be asked to play more of a facilitator role, which could present James Bouknight with an opportunity for increased playing time due to his impressive shooting range.
Ball's fourth ankle injury of the season will be a huge setback to his self-belief and prevent him from reaching his full potential as an athlete. This setback could further dent Ball's motivation levels going into the offseason.
With Ball out, the Hornets won't have as many opportunities to utilize star power forward Isaiah Canaan this season; therefore, they must rely on other players for scoring chances. Hopefully this gives our young core time to grow and develop together.
In the meantime, this could be an opportunity for the Hornets to assess their wing depth in their rotation and perhaps find a way to extend Bryce McGowens' starting wing man minutes. Although this challenge will be tough, one they can strive to meet.
The Hornets boast a talented young core with plenty of talent and experience, but the team still faces significant obstacles to overcome in order to win games and contend for a playoff spot. When Ball returns, it will be up to Ball and his teammates to prove they can step up when he returns.
On Monday night's game against the Detroit Pistons, LaMelo Ball suffered an ankle injury which is expected to keep him out for the remainder of the season. At 21 years old, Ball has already battled through numerous setbacks this year and this latest setback will surely put a stop to his promising Hornets career.
Ball suffered the injury while trying to crossover dribble against Detroit guard Killian Hayes and landing awkwardly on his right foot. Additionally, Ball fractured his left ankle in the process.
This is the fourth time Ball has suffered an ankle sprain this season, and it's not a good sign for the Charlotte Hornets, who are 12th in the Eastern Conference. Without being in contention for the playoffs, it seems unlikely that they'll rush Ball back if he cannot stay healthy.
In addition to his ankle sprain, Ball has been dealing with wrist soreness since returning from surgery earlier this month. The Hornets expect him to undergo further evaluations and testing, with potential for him being sidelined for Saturday's game against Atlanta Hawks if his wrist continues to cause him problems.
Though Ball is still recovering from his wrist injury, the Charlotte Hornets remain optimistic about their young star. Coach Rod Boone noted that Ball has made "a significant step" in his recovery process but they don't plan to rush him back just yet.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Malik Monk may make his return tonight against the Detroit Pistons. According to Wojnarowski, Charlotte Hornets coach will test Monk's wrist during practice today in order to decide when they two players will start a game together.
Ball's injury came as a huge shock, and not something the team was anticipating. He had been averaging 23.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 8.4 assists this season; however, Charlotte Hornets were hoping that after recovering from his previous ankle sprains he would be able to put up better numbers.
Before his injury, Ball was averaging 18.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in two games. Not only is he an elite scorer, but his ability to create space for himself has made him a crucial asset for the Hornets as they strive for their first playoff berth in four years.
His running ability has been an impressive aspect of his game, and he's become one of the NBA's most efficient three-point shooters this season. Averaging 2.8 points per possession from beyond the arc, he is shooting 73% for the year.
Ball's playmaking abilities could further develop over the coming years, making him a valuable player for the Hornets. He has the potential to become an All-Star and leader of their younger players. Ball is definitely someone worth keeping an eye on in the future; now more than ever they need him healthy so they can build upon their success and make another run at the playoffs.