Charlotte Hornets star LaMelo Ball will miss the rest of the 2022-23 campaign after fracturing his ankle Monday against the Detroit Pistons, sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Ball appeared to sustain the injury on a non-contact play in the third quarter when he planted his right foot while dribbling. He was removed from the game and did not return.
The 21-year-old has been hampered by ankle issues all season, limiting him to just 36 games in his third year. After spraining his left ankle in Charlotte’s second-last preseason contest, Ball did not make his season debut until Nov. 12 and missed the Hornets’ first 13 games.
In his third game of the season, he turned the same ankle in a freak play when he stepped on the foot of a fan sitting courtside late in the fourth quarter of a home loss to the Indiana Pacers. That ailment caused him to miss the next 11 games over a month’s time.
During both those extended absences, Charlotte went a combined 6-18 without the former Rookie of the Year in the lineup. The Hornets currently own the fourth-worst record in the league at 20-43 and are on pace to have the second-best odds (12.5%) at landing the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft lottery. The teams with the three worst records share the best probability at 14% each.
Ball averaged career highs in points and assists this season at 23.3 and 8.4, respectively, adding 6.4 rebounds per game and shooting 37.6% from beyond the arc.
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