The Charlotte Hornets announced that star point guard LaMelo Ball suffered a fractured right ankle against the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.
The injury was an odd one, as Ball was handling his dribble on the perimeter and didn’t make any contact with a Pistons player. However, when he planted to assess the defense again, he fell awkwardly to the hardwood and immediately grabbed his ankle once play stopped.
The Hornets were quick to test Ball and found a fracture.
He left Monday night’s contest with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists, over 21 minutes on the floor.
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It’s been a rough season for Charlotte with a 20-43 record on the year, though they have won five straight games after their 117-106 win over Detroit.
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They own the 14th seed in the Eastern Conference, and with only 19 games left to play, the 10th seed for a spot in the play-in tournament seems out of reach.
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Now, Ball’s fracture likely ends his 2023 season.
Ball is in his third season with the Hornets, and though he didn’t secure his second consecutive All-Star Game invite, he’s setting new career-highs in points (23.4 per game) and assists (8.5) this year.
Ball has also logged the most minutes per game in his early career with 35.6 per game.
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With Ball missing future games to recover, Charlotte may elevate Dennis Smith Jr. to the starting linup. Terry Rozier could also move to point guard, with Kelly Oubre Jr. playing the two-guard in the starting five as well.