Charlotte Hornets Injury Update: LaMelo Balll Out Several Weeks


Posted on: November 29, 2023, 10:54h. 

Last updated on: November 29, 2023, 10:05h.

LaMelo Ball, the leading scorer of the Charlotte Hornets, will be sidelined for multiple weeks while he recovers from a right ankle injury.

LaMelo Ball Hornets injury
Orlando Magic center Goga Bitadze defends the paint against Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. (Image: Getty)

Ball, 22, appeared in only 33 games last season with an injury on his other ankle. He initially rolled his left ankle in the preseason and missed several games at the start of the 2022-23 season. He stepped on a fan sitting courtside in the front row and reinjured the same ankle last November. In late February, Ball fractured his left ankle and missed the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery.

The Hornets selected Ball with the third-overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Ball missed 21 games during his rookie season in 2020-21 due to a wrist injury, but still earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors.

A healthy Ball appeared in 75 games in his second season and earned a spot on the 2022 NBA All-Star Team.

Buzz City Buzz Kill

The banged-up Hornets finally had their full roster intact for only one game before Ball strained his ankle against the Orlando Magic on Sunday. Ball needed assistance off the court. An MRI revealed a strained right ankle.

Obviously it’s frustrating,” said head coach Steve Clifford. “The other night was the first time we went into a game for two years where that was the projected starting lineup. Basically, that it was the team that I thought I would coach. We got about a quarter and three minutes, when LaMelo got hurt.”

Ball averaged a career-high 24.7 points, 8.2 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game prior to his injury. He shot 44.3% from the floor and connected on 38.9% of his 3-point attempts, which were both career highs.

Combo guard Terry Rozier recently returned to the lineup after missing the previous three weeks with a groin injury. Rozier averages 20.4 points per game, and he’ll pick up some of the scoring slack with Ball sidelined.

Rookie shooting guard Brandon Miller, the second-overall pick from the 2023 NBA Draft, has already started nine games this season. Miller averages 14.4 points per game and he’s shooting 37.4% from 3-point range. Miller will also have a chance to play a bigger role in the offense.

Clifford will rely on veteran point guard Ish Smith to step up over the next few weeks. Smith signed with the Hornets in the offseason, and he’s playing for an NBA-record 13th team in his career as a journeyman.

The Hornets also have guards Bryce McGowens, Theo Maledon, and James Bouknight on the roster.

“Bryce and Ish will all play bigger roles,” added Clifford.

Fading the Hornets Without LaMelo

The Hornets won back-to-back games before Thanksgiving, including an upset victory against the Boston Celtics in overtime. Ball exploded for 36 points with nine rebounds and eight assists in the victory against the best team in the NBA.

The Hornets dropped two in a row since Ball’s injury. They slipped to 5-11 after the New York Knicks blew them out on Tuesday night.

If the season ended today, the Hornets wouldn’t even qualify for the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament. They are currently ranked #12 out of 15 teams in the East. The Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons, who lost 14 games in a row, are the only teams in the conference with fewer wins than the Hornets.

The Hornets have one of the worst betting records in the NBA this season at 6-10 against the point spread. They are 1-5 ATS in their last six games.

The Hornets are in fourth place in the Southeast Division, and 6.5 games behind the Orlando Magic (12-5) in first place.

The Miami Heat (10-8) are the betting favorite to win the Southeast Division at -105 odds even though guard Tyler Herro missed the last two weeks with an ankle injury. The Southeast is a three-way race with the Magic (+200) and Atlanta Hawks (+300) battling the Heat for the division crown.

The Hornets (+30000) and Wizards (+60000) are long shots to win the Southeast.

The Hornets are at the bottom of DraftKings’ NBA futures board at +100000 odds to win the 2023-24 NBA Championship. They’re tied with the Pistons, Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers, and San Antonio Spurs as the longest moon shots on the board.

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