Charlotte Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball is expected to miss the remainder of the NBA season due to a broken right wrist, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Sunday on condition of anonymity because the team has not made the status of his injury public.
The Hornets said in a release earlier Sunday that Ball had an MRI exam in San Antonio that revealed the injury. The team said he would be listed as out indefinitely.
Ball appeared to be hurt after a fall in the Hornets’ 125-98 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Saturday. Ball appeared to be in discomfort playing into the second half.
The point guard was in the midst of a superb season for the Hornets and was a leading candidate for NBA Rookie of the Year honours.
He is averaging 15.9 points and tops all rookies with 6.1 assists and 1.59 steals per game. The No. 3 pick has helped the Hornets into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference, where they sit in eighth place after three straight losses.
Michael Jordan has been impressed by Ball
The 19-year-old Ball earlier this season became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double. He eventually broke into the starting lineup following an injury to Devonte Graham.
He took over as a starter on Feb. 1 and since that point has averaged 19.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.7 steals in his 21 starts while shooting 46.4 per cent from the field and 42.6 per cent from 3-point range.
Hornets owner and NBA great Michael Jordan recently told the AP that he’s been impressed by the rookie.
“I think Melo has adjusted to the NBA game better than any of us ever thought this early in his career,” Jordan said in an email. “He has exceeded our expectations so far this season.”
The third overall pick in the NBA draft, Ball was the first player over the last 60 years to lead all rookies in total points, rebounds, assists and steals at the All-Star Break.
He won back-to-back Eastern Conference rookie of the month honours in January and February.