CHARLOTTE, NC — The home opener of the season for LaMelo Ball It didn’t go as well as I expected.
The Charlotte Hornets not only lost 125-113 to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night, but Ball reinjured his left ankle when he stepped on a fan’s foot with 1 minute, 34 seconds remaining in the game.
X-rays of his left ankle came back negative, but the Hornets’ All-Star point guard has already been ruled out of Friday night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Coach Steve Clifford said it’s too soon to tell how much time he will miss.
Ball was trying to prevent a ball from going out of bounds when he stepped on the foot of a fan sitting near the Hornets’ bench as he tried to shield himself from the crowd.
It’s the same ankle that caused Ball to miss a portion of preseason and the first 13 games of the regular season.
It was Ball’s third game back since his initial ankle injury in preseason, but his first at home. It started when he received a huge introduction and applause during pregame introductions, but he came out with a grimace on his face and limped to the locker room.
Ball was stellar when he played, finishing with 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including five 3-pointers. He also had six assists while turning the ball over four times.
“He was great tonight,” Clifford said.
The Hornets have been hit hard by injuries this season.
Along with Ball who missed 13 games, Cody Martin he missed all but one with quadriceps and knee problems that eventually required surgery, Gordon Hayward he has missed the last eight games with a shoulder injury and Dennis Smith the last three with a sprained ankle. Earlier, the Hornets also announced that the first-round pick mark williams suffered an ankle injury while playing for G-League side Greensboro Swarm.
Terry Rozier he also missed seven games with an ankle injury.
“It’s very difficult, but we have to be professional about it,” said the Hornets guard, Kelly Oubre Jr. “Those things happen. But the people who are prepared and healthy enough to go out, we have to go do that relay.”
Still, the eave PJ Washington He said he’s looking forward to the day the Hornets (4-12) are back in top form.
“We all know that at some point they’re all going to be back out there and we can’t wait,” Washington said. “But right now the problem is we’re losing games, so we’ve got to figure it out and start getting some wins.”
Charlotte (4-12) has lost nine of its last 10 games after starting the season 3-3 with a win over the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
Associated Press contributed to this report.
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LaMelo Ball (ankle) hurt and out vs Cavs; x-rays were negative