LaMelo Ball, Malik Monk To Return Saturday

4:26pm: Ball and Monk have both been cleared to play tonight, with Ball returning to the starting lineup, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Coach James Borrego plans to have them both play four to five minutes at a time, but didn’t offer an estimate of how much total court time either player will see.

12:20pm: Monk intends to return for Saturday’s game, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who notes (via Twitter) that Ball will test his wrist before the game before making a final determination on his availability.

11:38am: Ball is expected to return to action on Saturday against the Pistons, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

9:06am: The Hornets have upgraded both LaMelo Ball (right wrist fracture) and Malik Monk (right ankle sprain) from out to questionable for Saturday’s tilt against the Pistons, paving the way for both players to return.

Ball, 19, suffered a fractured wrist in late March, an injury that was believed to be season-ending. However, the then-projected Rookie of the Year has progressed well in his recovery from wrist surgery and may end up missing just over a month.

Before the injury, the third overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft averaged 15.9 PPG, 6.1 APG and 5.9 RPG while shooting 45.1% from the field in 41 games (21 starts).

As for Monk, he suffered his sprained ankle in early April and was initially projected to miss at least two weeks. The injury lingered and Monk will also end up missing a month, should he return tonight or in any of the Hornets’ upcoming games.

Monk, 23, averaged 13.2 PPG for Charlotte in 32 contests off the bench before his injury.

The Hornets were in fourth place in the Eastern Conference at the time of Ball’s injury but the team has since slipped down to eighth with a 30-32 record.

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