NBA

LaMelo Ball wrist injury update: Hornets star listed as questionable Saturday vs. Pistons

LaMelo Ball has not played for the Charlotte Hornets since March 20, when he fractured his wrist in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. At that point, it appeared as though the presumptive Rookie of the Year would be lost for the season, and the Hornets, fighting for playoff positioning, would slide to the bottom of the standings. But Ball has made significant progress since then, and now, he is officially listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against the Detroit Pistons, suggesting that even if he doesn’t play in that game, he will be returning to the floor in the near future.

And just as Ball’s prognosis has been positive, so too has his team’s. The Hornets are 10-11 since losing Ball in March. Even after losing Gordon Hayward to injury as well, they’ve managed to tread water in the competitive middle of the Eastern Conference. If the season ended today, the Hornets would be the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. That’s not nearly as exciting as the No. 4 seed they once held, but it would at least keep them out of the lower play-in game. A single victory would be enough to get the Hornets into the playoffs against either the No. 7 seed or the winner of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 seeds. 

The Hornets still have some room to climb with a healthy Ball. They have the NBA‘s sixth-easiest remaining schedule, and even without Hayward, they have played well enough to take advantage of those lesser opponents. Charlotte trails No. 6-seeded Boston by two-and-a-half games in the standings.

But the real story here is Ball’s return. The Hornets are ultimately building for bigger things than they can realistically pursue this season. A playoff push now would be great, but most importantly, Charlotte’s franchise player appears to be healthy and ready to go. 



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