Hornets’ Ball leaves preseason game with sprained ankle

Oct 10, 2022, 5:52 AM | Updated: 6:43 pm
Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball brings the ball up court in the first half of an NBA preseason ...

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball brings the ball up court in the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Washington Wizards in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

(AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

              Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (1) guards against Washington Wizards guard Monte Morris, right, in the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
            
              Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (1) tries to block a shot from Washington Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis in the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
            
              Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (1) drives to the basket while guarded by Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma in the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
            
              Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball brings the ball up court in the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Washington Wizards in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte Hornets All-Star point guard LaMelo Ball sprained his left ankle in the third quarter of a preseason game against the Washington Wizards on Monday when his foot was stepped on while he was driving to the basket.

The Hornets announced that Ball will not return to the game.

Ball was driving the left side of the lane when Washington’s Anthony Gill inadvertently stepped on Ball’s foot, causing the third-year pro’s ankle to twist awkwardly.

Ball remained on the floor for several minutes before getting to his feet and gingerly walking to the free throw line. He shot two free throws, then immediately checked out of the game and headed straight to the locker room.

Ball is expected to undergo more tests on Tuesday.

“Fingers crossed that it is not something serious,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said.

Clifford said Ball and center Mason Plumlee, who sprained his left foot in the game and also left early, won’t play in Wednesday night’s preseason game at Philadelphia.

Ball is considered the centerpiece of the Hornets’ offense, averaging 20.1 points, 7.6 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game last season.

Ball had nine points and six rebounds before leaving the game.

Charlotte open the regular season next Wednesday at San Antonio.

___

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