Charlotte Hornets star LaMelo Ball went down with an ankle sprain in a preseason game versus the Washington Wizards on Monday. Wizards big man Anthony Gill accidentally stepped on Ball on his drive to the paint, and the Hornets guard’s left ankle twisted awkwardly.
The 21-year-old still found it in him to shoot the two free throws that followed this play after clearly being fouled. Ball would then immediately check out the game and head to the locker room.
After getting an MRI today on that ankle, the results came in as a Grade 2 ankle sprain per Shams Charania of the Athletic. Ball will miss the start of the regular season as he heals.
Charlotte Coach Steve Clifford announced Terry Rozier would start at point guard for the team while Ball recovers.
“Terry was the starting point guard on a team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s a role he is comfortable with, and if that ends up being the situation, that is how we will do it.”
Clifford also hinted at Dennis Smith Jr. getting more playing time. When the Hornets coach spoke to Ball about rehab, he could see his frustration and disappointment.
“We talked about whatever the plan is; you have to be on the rehab,” Clifford said. “The better you are with it, the quicker you will get back. He was disappointed but very upbeat. It’s just part of the NBA.”
Charlotte will play their season opener on Oct. 18 against the San Antonio Spurs.