There is still hope that Charlotte Hornets star guard LaMelo Ball could return at some point this season.
The No. 3 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft suffered a fractured right wrist over the weekend, and The Athletic's Shams Charania and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski had conflicting reports of how long the injury may keep the 19-year-old sensation sidelined.
After receiving surgery on his fractured wrist, the team announced that Ball will be re-evaluated in four weeks, leaving the door open for a possible return this season.
LaMelo Ball underwent successful surgery to address a fracture in his right wrist. Ball's wrist will be immobilized and he will be reevaluated in four weeks.- Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) March 23, 2021
🔗: https://t.co/TjMsC8n0RX pic.twitter.com/RSpsU5d7DW
The initial news of the injury came as a crushing blow to both Ball and the Hornets, but the most recent announcement leaves some room for optimism.
Ball is the frontrunner for this season's Rookie of the Year, averaging 19.5 points, 6.2 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 21 games since being promoted to the team's starting lineup. For further indication of just how impressive he had been: Ball joined an elite group of only six players - all of which are Hall of Famers - as the only rookies in NBA history to lead their entire rookie class in total points, rebounds and assists at the All-Star break.
Ball's emergence played a key role in Charlotte solidifying itself in the Eastern Conference playoff race, holding the No. 6 seed at the time of the injury.
His re-evaluation in four weeks would take him to April 20, meaning he would be set to miss a minimum of 15 more games. At that point, there would only be 15 games remaining in the season, so the Hornets' playoff chances could heavily impact the franchise's decision of whether or not their young cornerstone returns to action this season.
Can Charlotte stay competitive without its first-round pick in action? And was Ball's stronghold on the Rookie of the Year race enough to keep him atop the list for the award despite the amount of time he is set to miss?
More to come.
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