Hornets' LaMelo Ball Cleared from Health Protocols; Will Have Rehab Assignment

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 14, 2021

Charlotte Hornets' LaMelo Ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
AP Photo/Morry Gash

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball has been cleared from the NBA's health and safety protocols and will join the G League's Greensboro Swarm for a rehabilitation assignment.

Ball has not played since Charlotte's Dec. 1 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Jalen McDaniels and Mason Plumlee, who are also returning from safety protocols, are also with the Swarm.

The Hornets have gone 2-3 without Ball in the lineup, beating the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings while losing to the Philadelphia 76ers twice and the Dallas Mavericks. Rookie James Bouknight has taken on a larger role in Ball's absence, highlighted by a 24-point outing in Friday's win over Sacramento.

Ball got off to an All-Star-caliber pace in his second NBA season, averaging 20.0 points, 8.3 assists and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 39.1 percent from three-point range. The Hornets (15-13) have established themselves as a threat for the Eastern Conference playoffs while playing some of the most entertaining basketball in the sport, thanks in large part to Ball.

The team will undoubtedly welcome his return.