Hornets HC Comments on Rumors LaMelo Ball Will Miss Season with Wrist InjuryMarch 22, 2021
Amid rumors Charlotte Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball is done for the year after suffering a right wrist fracture, head coach James Borrego has envisioned a new role for the No. 3 pick.
Borrego, who only said that Ball would miss "an extended period," said the rookie will be the team's "No. 1 cheerleader" during his recovery," according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
Ball suffered the injury when he fell during the team's Saturday loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Wojnarowski reported Ball won't be officially ruled out until he meets with doctors in New York, which is expected to take place "early this week."
"I feel horrible for LaMelo, more than anything," Borrego said. "He’s going to be our biggest cheerleader (while injured). He’s a curious young man who wants to be great."
Ball is a candidate for the league's Rookie of the Year Award, having averaged 15.8 points on 45.1 percent shooting with 6.1 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals through 41 appearances and 21 starts. With his contributions, the Hornets have transformed into a potential playoff team, holding the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference at 20-21.
"He’s put us in the win column more than I, or anybody, anticipated,” Borrego said. "He’s really had a major impact on us winning games this season. His play on the court [is huge], but also his spirit in the locker room—how he inspires us all to be better."
With the NBA trade deadline looming, Borrego told reporters there was no "immediate need" to add another player at the position and that the team would instead look for Malik Monk, Caleb and Cody Martin and Jalen McDaniels to play an increased role.