Ball’s rookie of the year hopes cop a blow

LaMelo Ball’s chances of claiming an NBL and NBA rookie of the year double have received a major blow, with the Charlotte guard expected to be ruled out for the season after fracturing his right wrist.

Ball is a frontrunner to collect the NBA’s best rookie award, just 12 months after being anointed the Australian league’s best rookie with the Illawarra Hawks.

LaMelo Ball during his rookie NBL season in Australia with the Illawarra Hawks. Picture: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Sadly, it appears the guard’s maiden NBA season is finished, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

He is now unlikely to win the rookie of the year given he will miss the final 30-plus games left in the NBA’s regular season.

Ball’s injury is near the thumb on his shooting hand, according to sources.

The Charlotte star won’t be formally ruled out for the season until after meeting with Dr Michelle Carlson at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York early this week, but sources say the injury will end his raucous debut after 41 scintillating games and the Hornets holding the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Hornets announced on Sunday evening that Ball underwent an MRI, and an initial diagnosis revealed a fractured bone in the wrist.

The team said Ball would be listed as out indefinitely, and additional updates would be provided when available.

LaMelo Ball was charging towards the NBA rookie of the year award until he fractured his right wrist. Picture: Jacob Kupferman/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Ball suffered the injury on a fall in a 125-98 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Saturday.

The third overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft has averaged 15.9 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds this season.

In January against the Atlanta Hawks, Ball became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double.

The 19-year-old rookie tallied 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists while shooting 69 per cent from the field and 75 per cent from three-point range in a 113-105 win.

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