The Charlotte Hornets had great news to share about rookie LaMelo Ball, who will return from his wrist fracture sooner than expected.
LaMelo Ball could be back on the court for the Charlotte Hornets much sooner than anticipated.
On Monday night, the team announced the good news that Ball’s fractured wrist has healed. He’s cleared to return to “individual basketball activity,” the team said.
That means the rookie star is on track to return, not just before the end of the 2020-21 season, but as soon as a week.
Ball fractured his wrist against the Clippers on March 20. At the time, it looked like a season-ending injury.
LaMelo Ball’s injury absence isn’t nearly as long as it could have been
A few days after the injury, Adrian Wojnarowski and Sham Charania reported Ball had surgery. The former said he was still unlikely to return this season. The latter said he would be re-evaluated in four weeks with the potential to come back. It turns out Charania was right about that timeline.
The Hornets are still in position to make the playoffs, currently sitting eighth in the Eastern Conference. However, as it currently stands, they’ll have to go through the play-in tournament to truly get in.
Ball’s return should make the team even more confident of holding on for the postseason.
Before his injury, Ball averaged 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game and was the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year Award. That honor could still be his, especially since he’ll be able to play in much of the final month of the season. A week ago, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer found that Ball is still the favorite in a straw poll of voters.
Of course, once he gets back in uniform, his focus will be less about securing that individual award and more about giving his team a fighting chance in the playoffs.