Charlotte Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball’s surgically repaired wrist has healed and he could be seeing basketball action again soon.
In a team announcement on Monday, the Hornets revealed that Ball has been cleared to return to individual basketball activity following an evaluation at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. While the team has not mentioned anything about him returning to their lineup this season, sources told ESPN that the former Chino Hills basketball star could return to action as soon as 7-10 days if all goes well in his workouts.
If Ball is able to return during that time frame, it’s going to be a huge lift for the Hornets who have tumbled in the team standings without him. Charlotte is still very much in the playoff race and getting LaMelo back will be a huge boost.
Ball also appeared to have locked up the Rookie of the Year award prior to getting hurt but has vanished in the odds boards during his hiatus. If he is able to return to action, those odds boards could start flipping back to his direction once again.
Running Away With ROY Odds
The 19-year old Ball was the clear front-runner of this season’s Rookie of the Year race and was running away with the Rookie of the Year odds in the best NBA betting sites when he fractured his wrist last month. Initially, it was believed that Ball would be out for the rest of the season. But now it does not appear to look that way.
Ball was Charlotte’s third overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft after playing for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia’s NBL. He started out the season slow but following injuries to starting guards Terry Rozier and Devonte Graham near the midway part of the season, Ball got his break as a starter and he delivered.
In 21 games as a starter, Ball averaged 19.5 points, 6.2 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.7 steals in 37.1 minutes of playing time per game. He was the rookie leader in almost all major statistical categories and was also orchestrating the Charlotte offense much better, leading them to wins that helped put the team as high as 4th place in the Eastern Conference team standings. But with Melo out of action, the Hornets have tumbled in the team standings.
Postseason Race is Heating Up
Including the Clippers game where LaMelo got hurt, Charlotte is just 8-8 in its last 16 games played. They are still at the .500 mark at 28-28 on the year but the Hornets are now 8th in the Eastern Conference ladder. If the playoffs were to start today, Charlotte will still have to win in the play-in tournament before getting to the postseason.
Fortunately for the Hornets, the Eastern Conference race is so tight that they are just 1.5 games behind the 5th placed Boston Celtics and 2.5 games back of the 4th seeded Atlanta Hawks. If the Hornets can finish strong, and they have a good shot at that with the 8th easiest strength of remaining schedule in the entire league, then they still have a shot at making the playoffs outright by catching either the Hawks, Celtics or the New York Knicks.
Terry Rozier has been carrying the load for the Hornets’ backcourt without LaMelo. Scary Terry has been scoring 20.8 points per game in his last 10 games played. But he can’t do it alone. With Gordon Hayward also sidelined with a sprained right foot, Charlotte needs another spark to bring their bravado back. There’s no better player to give that than LaMelo Ball who has been the main catalyst of this impressive Charlotte season.
Steve Richardson started writing content online in 2013 and has yet to slow down. Since joining our team at GamblingSites.org, he has covered sports, casino news, gambling laws, and much more! ...
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