Point guard LaMelo Ball, who just made his 2022-23 regular season debut on Saturday, re-injured his left ankle late in Wednesday’s loss to Indiana and did not return, the Hornets announced (via Twitter).
According to the Hornets, Ball suffered a left ankle sprain — the same injury that caused him to miss the team’s first 13 games. He initially injured his ankle in preseason and it was fairly serious, since it was a Grade 2 sprain.
A first-time All-Star last season, Ball averaged 20.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.6 steals on .429/.389/.872 shooting in 75 games (32.3 MPG). While he had to shake off some rust in his first two games back this season, he was having a big night Wednesday prior to the injury, recording 26 points and six assists in 37 minutes.
After making the play-in tournament each of the past two seasons, the Hornets have struggled early on in ’22-23, with Wednesday’s loss dropping their record to 4-12. In addition to Ball, Terry Rozier (ankle), Caleb Martin (knee surgery) and Gordon Hayward (shoulder) have all had extended injury absences, and backup point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has missed the past two games with his own left ankle sprain (Twitter link).
If Ball and Smith miss more time with their ankle sprains, Theo Maledon and James Bouknight should see an increase in minutes.