Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, widely considered the leading candidate to win the N.B.A.’s Rookie of the Year Award, has a fractured bone in his right wrist and is out indefinitely, the team announced on Sunday night.
Ball underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Sunday in San Antonio as the Hornets prepared for a road game against the Spurs on Monday. Ball, 19, had a hard landing on Saturday night in the first half of the team’s road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and tried to play through the pain in the second half.
Drafted third over all by the Hornets in November, Ball is averaging 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.59 steals per game; he ranks seventh in the league in steals per game. Combined with strong play from the free-agent newcomer Gordon Hayward and the second-year Hornet Terry Rozier — both former Boston Celtics — Ball has helped Charlotte challenge for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after four consecutive seasons out of the postseason.
Ball became a starter on Feb. 1 in Miami and has averaged 19.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.7 steals since the move. Amid much skepticism leading up to the draft about his dependability from the perimeter, Ball has shot 46.4 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from 3-point range in his 21 starts.
Ball was named the Eastern Conference rookie of the month in both January and February, and was the only rookie over the past 60 years to lead all first-year players in total points, rebounds, assists and steals at the All-Star break.
Ball, the younger brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, was selected by the Hornets in the 2020 draft, after Minnesota drafted guard Anthony Edwards and Golden State chose center James Wiseman.