NBA Rookie of the Year front-runner and Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, a Chino Hills resident, could miss the rest of the 2020-21 season after suffering a fractured wrist Saturday night during a game against the Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Although a final decision on his status will likely be made soon, the Hornets announced Sunday that Ball will be out indefinitely.
“Ball underwent successful surgery to address a fracture in his right wrist,” a Hornets’ statement read Tuesday. “Ball’s wrist will be immobilized and he will be reevaluated in four weeks.”
The surgery took place at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, the team stated.
Ball injured his wrist while trying to brace his fall after attempting a layup in the first half of the Hornets’ loss to the Clippers.
He returned to the game in the second half with his right wrist heavily wrapped.
Hornets’ officials announced on their website that Ball underwent an MRI exam on his wrist, which showed the fractured bone.
Ball could still be considered a favorite for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award with his statistics this season, which include 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.59 steals in 41 games with the Hornets.
His steals average is seventh best among all NBA players.
Among rookie players, Ball was first in steals and assists, second in points and tied for second in rebounds.
The 2020 NBA Draft’s No. 3-overall pick was selected as the NBA’s Rookie of the Month in January and February.
He is also the first NBA rookie since 1961 to lead rookie players in points, rebounds, assists and steals at the All-Star Break.
Ball, who was the 2015-16 co-Maxpreps National Freshman of the Year at Chino Hills High with teammate and Atlanta Hawks player Onyeka Okongwu, came to Los Angeles for the first time as an NBA player, competing against the Lakers on March 18 and the Clippers on Saturday.
Against the Lakers, Ball finished with a team-high 26 points with seven assists, five rebounds and a steal. He also committed six turnovers in the Hornets’ 116-105 loss to the Lakers.
In Saturday’s 125-98 loss the Clippers, Ball played only 13 minutes and scored two points, pulled down five rebounds with three steals and a turnover.