How long is LaMelo Ball out? Injury timeline, return date, latest updates on Hornets rookie

Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, one of the NBA’s top rookies in 2020-21, is looking at an extended absence after suffering an injury to his shooting hand.

Ball was hurt Saturday night in the Hornets’ loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old has become a franchise mainstay after being drafted third overall by the Hornets last offseason. His passing and pace earned him early recognition and, ultimately, a place in the starting lineup. Ball played in all 41 of Charlotte’s games (21 starts) prior to his injury. 

What’s next for Ball? Here’s everything we know about his injury and the latest news on when he may return to the court.

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What is LaMelo Ball’s injury?

The Hornets announced Sunday that Ball suffered a bone fracture in his right wrist. Sources told Wojnarowski and Hornets beat writer Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer that the fracture is near Ball’s right thumb. Bonnell reported that an initial X-ray taken in Los Angeles did not reveal the fracture but an MRI scan taken in San Antonio, where the Hornets will face the Spurs on Monday night, did. 

Ball was hurt on a drive to the basket in the first half of Charlotte’s 125-98 loss to the Clippers. He was fouled on the drive and hit the floor. He landed on his right hand and wrist.

The rookie was in obvious discomfort as he made one of two free throws.

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Ball remained in the game but played the second half with a wrap on his injured wrist and thumb, Bonnell reported.

How long will LaMelo Ball be out?

The Hornets listed Ball as being out indefinitely, but Wojnarowski reported Sunday night that Ball is expected to be ruled out for the remainder of the season after he visits with Dr. Michelle Carson at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York this week. 

On Tuesday, the Hornets announced Ball underwent successful surgery on his fractured right wrist. His wrist will be immobilized and he’ll be reevaluated in four weeks.

The injury is obviously a big blow to the Hornets’ rotation, but Charlotte does have point guard depth with Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham. Shooting guard Malik Monk is likely to receive extra minutes off the bench as well.

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The only other guards listed on Charlotte’s roster are two-way players Nate Darling and Grant Riller. It was not immediately known whether the Hornets would look to add a guard before the March 25 NBA trade deadline.

LaMelo Ball stats for 2020-21 season

  • 15.9 points per game
  • 6.1 assists per game
  • 5.9 rebounds per game
  • 1.6 steals per game
  • 2.8 turnovers per game
  • 28.6 minutes per game
  • 45.1 percent shooting
  • 37.5 percent 3-point shooting 
  • 78.9 percent free throw shooting