Hornets fizzle as LaMelo Ball recovers from fractured ankle
The Charlotte Hornets, after struggling through one of the team's least productive seasons, are expected to be without their premiere guard for the remainder of the NBA season. The news book-ended the team's statement that Ball had undergone a successful surgery to repair the injury sustained in the Hornets win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday.
Ball went down in the third quarter, with the Hornets leading by double digits. During an attempt to make a behind-the-back dribble, Ball fell to the court and needed to be helped off. Ball left the game and did not return.
Ball suffered a fracture in his right ankle but is expected to make a full recovery.
Ball, the third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, has appeared in 162 games (142 starts) in his three-year career, averaging 19.4 points (42.6 FG%, 37.7 3P%, 82.8 FT%), 6.4 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.5 steals in 31.8 minutes per game. He earned the first All-Star nod of his career in 2021-22, becoming the fourth-youngest All-Star in NBA history. Ball was named the NBA Rookie of the Year after averaging 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals in 2020-21.
Ball's presence was missed on Wednesday night as the Hornets hosted the Phoenix Suns at the Spectrum Center. The Hornets fell to 20-44 after the 105-91 thrashing. The Suns dominance primarily came from Devin Booker and newly acquired Kevin Durant. Durant recorded 23 points (10-15 FG) and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes played for the Suns and Devin Booker led all scorers with 37 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists for the Suns.