LaMelo Ball

Injury Updates: LaMelo, Martin, Dragic, Gallinari, Ingram

Star Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball will not play in tonight’s contest against the Jazz, per Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Ball has been sidelined since the 18th due to ankle and wrist injuries. Ball has missed 25 games thus far this year with various ailments, mostly related to his left ankle.

When he has been available, Ball has put up solid numbers. The 6’7″ guard is averaging 23.5 PPG on .409/.370/.875 shooting splits, 8.2 APG, 5.2 RPG and 1.1 SPG for the 13-34 Hornets.

Boone adds that Charlotte small forward Cody Martin, who has appeared in just seven games all year due to a knee injury, has also been ruled out for this evening as a result of left knee soreness.

We have more injury news:

  • Bulls reserve point guard Goran Dragic will miss tonight’s game against the Hawks and possibly all of the team’s forthcoming three-game road trip, reports K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (via Twitter). Bulls head coach Billy Donovan indicated that, should Dragic begin to feel better, there is a chance he catches up with the team later on during the road jaunt.
  • Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla offered a minor update on the recovery of injured forward Danilo Gallinari, who tore his ACL before the start of the season, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link). “I saw him jogging on the treadmill and I was like, ‘I haven’t seen you run much faster than that in a game,'” Mazzulla joked. “So I thought he was playing tonight.” The Celtics still expect Gallinari to miss the whole 2022/23 season.
  • The Pelicans are “hopeful” that star forward Brandon Ingram can rejoin his club at some point during New Orleans’ current stretch of home games, per Erin Summers of the ACC Stars podcast (via Twitter). “I’m going to see how I feel, but that’s the plan,” Ingram said of his return timeline (Twitter link). Ingram has been unavailable since November 25 due to a toe contusion. Summers adds that Naji Marshall played in half of the team’s practice, and that All-Star forward Zion Williamson will undergo imaging this week.

Southeast Notes: Hachimura, Porzingis, Ball, Strus

Wizards forward Rui Hachimura may have raised his trade value with a 30-point performance Saturday night, but he wanted to avoid discussing a potential deal after the game, writes Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. “No comment,” Hachimura told reporters when they asked if he has requested a trade, although he indicated that he’s looking for a comfortable situation, whether that’s in Washington or somewhere else.

“I just want to be somewhere that wants me as a basketball player,” Hachimura said. “And I want to be somewhere that loves my — likes my game, you know? … I just want to be somewhere that trusts, believes in me. Just I can be myself — that’s my goal.”

Wallace confirms a report from The Athletic this week that the Wizards have discussed a potential Hachimura trade with several teams. The 24-year-old became an instant starter after being selected with the ninth pick in the 2019 draft, but injuries and other roadblocks have limited his effectiveness since then. The team didn’t reach a rookie scale extension with Hachimura before the October deadline, so he’s headed for free agency this summer.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Kristaps Porzingis left Saturday’s game with a sprained ankle in the third quarter, but the Wizards are optimistic about his prognosis, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “Sprained ankle. He’ll be evaluated tomorrow,” coach Wes Unseld Jr. said after the game. “We’ll see where it is. I don’t think it’s too bad, but fingers crossed.” Porzingis has experienced frequent health issues throughout his career, but he’s been relatively injury-free this season, appearing in 41 of the team’s 46 games.
  • Hornets guard LaMelo Ball is quickly recovering from a sprained ankle he suffered Wednesday, but a right wrist problem may be a bigger concern, per Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Ball banged his wrist during the same game, which raises concerns because he had surgery on his right hand as a rookie. “The wrist had been not hurting, but ever since I broke it, it’s been the same little one (thing),” Ball said. “In Houston, I was fine with it until I hit it again … So, yeah once I get over that little hump I think I’ll be smooth.”
  • Max Strus‘ flexibility has been valuable for the Heat in an injury-filled season, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The impending free agent has played 24 games as a starter and 21 off the bench and has seen time at every position except center.

Injury Notes: Ball, Kleber, Wade, Okeke, Okogie

Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball suffered his third left ankle sprain this season in yesterday’s victory over Houston. Ball and teammate P.J. Washington were contesting a layup by Jabari Smith Jr. when Washington landed on Ball’s ankle (YouTube link via ESPN).

While the injury certainly looked painful, the 21-year-old sounds fairly confident he won’t miss as much time as he did with his previous sprains, which sidelined him for 13 and 11 games, respectively.

It feels a little bit better,” Ball said, per Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “It doesn’t feel like those other ones. … I can walk, so take it day-by-day and see what it is.”

Boone writes that the young All-Star didn’t require an X-Ray or other tests to determine the severity of the injury.

Here are some more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • Maxi Kleber, who underwent surgery on December 20 to repair a torn hamstring, says he’s targeting a return to the Mavericks‘ lineup next month, though he isn’t committed to that timeline (Twitter video link via Bally Sports Southwest). “I’m not out for the season,” the German big man said. “I can’t give an exact date, but I hope I’m gonna be back… preferably before All-Star break, but I don’t want to jinx anything or say anything or make promises. … But that’s the goal.”
  • Cavaliers forward Dean Wade, who has been sidelined since December 2 due to a shoulder ailment, suffered a setback in his rehab process earlier this month, injuring his ankle when he stepped on a player’s foot during practice, a source tells Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. “He’s not (doing) five-on-five yet,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said on Tuesday. “Again, because of where he was before, it won’t need as much to get him back to going because it wasn’t as big of a setback.”
  • The return of Magic forward Chuma Okeke isn’t imminent, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (subscriber link). Okeke has yet to resume contact work after undergoing a procedure on his left knee in December. Price adds within the same story that forward Jonathan Isaac is expected to play in a third G League game for the Lakeland Magic on Thursday as he makes his way back from an ACL injury.
  • Suns wing Josh Okogie broke his nose in Monday’s game in Memphis when he took an inadvertent elbow from teammate Deandre Ayton, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Okogie is listed as out for Thursday — it’s unclear how much additional time he might miss.

Luke Adams contributed to this story.

LaMelo Ball Suffers Another Ankle Sprain

Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball suffered a left ankle sprain in the third quarter of Wednesday’s game in Houston and was ruled out for the remainder of the contest, the team announced (via Twitter).

According to Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link), Ball was stepped on by teammate P.J. Washington, which apparently caused the sprain. Ball went back to the locker room before being ruled out.

Unfortunately, this is the third time Ball has sprained his left ankle in 2022/23. His first ankle injury occurred during a preseason game on October 10 and he was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain the following day.

Ball missed the first 13 games of the regular season with the injury, then re-injured his ankle in his third game back on November 16. He missed an additional 11 games while recovering from the second sprain before returning to action last month.

A first-time All-Star in ’21/22, Ball is putting up big numbers in his third season, averaging 24.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 8.4 APG and 1.1 SPG on .415/.374/.870 shooting through 21 games (34.8 MPG). The Hornets have struggled both with and without him, however, as they’re 6-16 in games he’s played and 6-18 when he hasn’t, for an overall record of 12-34.

If Ball misses additional time, look for players like Dennis Smith Jr. and Bryce McGowens to get more minutes.

LaMelo Ball Returning To Action On Wednesday

5:05pm: Ball will be “active and available” for tonight’s game against the Pistons, the Hornets confirmed (via Twitter)

11:17am: Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball has been upgraded to questionable for Wednesday’s game against Detroit and is aiming to return to action, barring a setback during pregame warmups, according to Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) classifies Ball as “optimistic” about playing on Wednesday, while Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) says the former No. 3 overall pick is “hopeful” to return.

Ball, who missed the first 13 games of the Hornets’ season due to a left ankle sprain, re-injured his ankle in his third game back on November 16. He has been sidelined for 11 more games since then and has now been on the shelf for 24 of 27 total contests during the first third of the season.

The Hornets have struggled mightily without their All-Star available this fall, going 6-18 in the games Ball missed. They won one of the three he played, as the 21-year-old averaged 19.3 points, 7.0 assists, and 3.7 rebounds in 32.7 minutes per night. Charlotte is currently on a five-game losing streak.

The Hornets will host the Pistons tonight and the Hawks on Friday. Assuming Ball returns and makes it through those two games without aggravating his ankle, he should be good to go for the team’s six-game road trip that begins on Sunday in Denver.

Hornets’ LaMelo Ball Re-Injures Left Ankle, Out At Least Friday

NOVEMBER 17: Ball did not practice on Thursday and will not play on Friday versus Cleveland, tweets Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

We’ll be without him here,” head coach Steve Clifford said. “I don’t think we have any idea how long.”

Clifford also told reporters that Ball had an X-ray after Wednesday’s game, which came back negative.

NOVEMBER 16: 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 in 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), Cody 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.

Southeast Notes: Clifford, Ball, Banchero, Collins

Hornets head coach Steve Clifford believes the team can dispel the notion of being soft once it overcomes injuries, he told Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer.

“I think that we are very much viewed as a finesse offensive team and I think there is a lot of toughness here. … When we have everybody healthy we are going to be a team that plays with a lot of physicality,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t be good at all those energy effort areas. Defensive rebounding, defensive transition, keeping the ball out of the paint, being good at loose balls, being good at screening. I don’t see why we can’t do that. So I think that for me is a real positive.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hornets star LaMelo Ball struggled with his shooting and committed five fouls in his season debut against Miami on Saturday. Still, Ball – who had 15 points, six rebounds and six assists – was just happy to get back in action, according to Boone“I feel straight,” Ball said. “More games, it will get easier. So, I think I’m in a good spot.”
  • The top pick in the draft, the Magic‘s Paolo Banchero, missed his third consecutive game on Monday due to a left ankle sprain, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. Banchero was off to a sparkling start to his NBA career before suffering the injury. He’s averaging 23.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
  • After scoring 20-plus points in his first two games, Hawks forward John Collins has averaged 10.4 points in his last 11. Collins said it’s just a matter of touches, Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. He has taken 10 or fewer shots in seven of his last nine games. “I definitely feel like I can shoot the damn ball,” Collins said. “But, you know, sometimes it’s just hard to get a rhythm. I feel like my rhythm might be just a little bit off, but I’m respecting the game and trying to continue to stay in the gym and shoot and not really think too much about it.”

LaMelo Ball May Make Season Debut On Saturday

Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball, who has been sidelined for the entire regular season so far due to a left ankle sprain, is being upgraded to questionable for Saturday’s game in Miami, league sources tell Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). The Hornets have since confirmed Ball’s new designation (Twitter link).

While that doesn’t mean Ball is a lock to play tonight, Boone says there’s a possibility the point guard will be able to make his season debut vs. the Heat. If Ball is ultimately ruled out for Saturday’s game, his next opportunity to make his return would come on Monday in Orlando.

A first-time All-Star in 2021/22, Ball averaged 20.1 points, 7.6 assists, and 6.7 rebounds per game in 75 starts (32.3 MPG) for the Hornets, with a shooting line of .429/.389/.872. He sustained his ankle injury during a preseason game on October 10 and was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain the following day.

In Ball’s absence, Terry Rozier has taken on more ball-handling responsibilities and Dennis Smith Jr. has become a key part of Charlotte’s rotation. Smith, who came to training camp on a non-guaranteed deal, was expected to provide some depth behind Ball at the point, but has instead started 11 of 13 games and averaged nearly 30 minutes per night, putting up 10.2 PPG, 6.2 APG, and 3.6 RPG.

The Hornets have lost their last seven games and are now 3-10 on the season, so getting Ball back in the lineup will be crucial if they want to turn things around and vie for a playoff or play-in spot.

Southeast Notes: Ball, Goodwin, Young, Murray, Isaac

While there has been growing optimism that LaMelo Ball will soon make his season debut, it won’t happen on Monday night. The team’s PR department lists him as out for the Hornets’ contest against Washington (Twitter link).

Ball suffered a Grade 2 ankle sprain in a preseason game on October 10. Hornets forward Gordon Hayward (left shoulder contusion) also remains out of action.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Jordan Goodwin, who had his training campcontract converted into a two-way deal in mid-October, has been a pleasant surprise for the Wizards, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington notes. Goodwin had nine points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals against Memphis on Sunday and could have a steady role as the third point guard. “He has the heart of a dog. You can’t teach that and you can’t give it out, you’re born with it,” Bradley Beal said.
  • Jonathan Isaac hasn’t played in an NBA game since the 2019/20 season but the Magic forward is making progress. “I’ve been playing [5-on-5] the last few weeks and just getting in shape,” Isaac told Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel. “I’m still getting there. But in terms of body, knees and hamstrings, everything is great. I’m just not in game shape.” Isaac won’t put a timetable on his return, adding “I foresee myself in the next few weeks continuing to get more in shape and being more integrated with the team.”
  • The Hawks entered Monday’s action with a 6-3 record, thanks in large part to their backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Both players are still adjusting to having another high volume guard alongside them but it’s working so far, ESPN’s Andrew Lopez writes. They’re averaging a combined 50.2 points and 17.5 assists per game. “We’re learning each other, trying to understand the new situation we’re both in,” Murray said. “Pushing each other and just knowing that it’s going be a long journey with ups and downs.”

Southeast Notes: Davis, Ball, Herro, Martin, Strus

Many lottery picks wouldn’t be thrilled about a G League assignment. The Wizards’ Johnny Davis has a different take, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

Davis scored 13 points on 3-for-13 shooting in 26 minutes in his first outing for the Capital City Go-Go. He played 23 minutes and scored 17 points in his second G League game on Sunday.

The 10th overall pick is grateful to see so much court time.

“It was great to be able to finally play again,” Davis said. “Being with the Wizards, you always got to stay ready, but I’m glad they sent me down here so I can get some reps and just get that feeling back.”

Davis averaged six minutes in five NBA appearances before the assignment.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • LaMelo Ball could return this week from the left ankle sprain that has sidelined him since late in the preseason. His Hornets teammates are excited at the prospect of having their floor leader back, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer writes. “Super excited, super anxious,” Kelly Oubre said. “I tell him every day I miss him on the court. You know, he’s another element to our team that is through the roof. You can’t put a matchup on him.”
  • Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin are still adjusting to their new roles as starters for the Heat, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Herro is getting used to playing alongside other high-usage players, while Martin is getting most of his offensive opportunities around the 3-point line. “I think that’s what you need early on,” Martin said. “I think you need growing pains to figure things out and I’m glad we’re going through those now. It’s good to get that stuff out of the way, so you kind of nip a lot of stuff in the bud.”
  • Max Strus has only started three of 10 games for the Heat but he’s becoming an integral part of the closing unit, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes. Strus has played the entire fourth quarter the past two games. “He does a lot of things for us defensively,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He can guard bigger guys. He can play really anywhere we want to in a zone. We also can put him in different matches in our man, and he’s really proficient, really good on the back side of our defense. And then offensively he’s just gaining confidence.”