— Sports

LaMelo Ball nearing return to action for the Hornets

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Hornets guard LaMelo Ball has been cleared to return to individual basketball activity by doctors after having a cast removed from his right wrist.

It’s unclear at this point when he’ll be ready to play in a game.

Ball sustained a fractured right wrist during the Hornets’ Mar. 20 game against the Los Angeles Clippers and has not played since. Ball underwent further evaluation on his wrist Monday by Dr. Michelle Carlson of The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. The cast was removed, and a CT scan confirmed the wrist had healed.

Ball, the No. 3 overall selection in last year’s NBA draft, was among the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year honors before the injury. He won Eastern Conference rookie of the month three times and is averaging 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.59 steals in 41 contests.

Ball currently ranks first in assists and steals among rookies, second in scoring, and is tied for second in rebounds.

Since he was promoted to the starting lineup on Feb. 1, Ball is averaging 19.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1.7 steals in 21 starts while shooting 46.4% from the field and 42.6% from 3-point range. The Hornets entered eighth in eighth place in the Eastern Conference at 28-28, with 16 remaining the season.

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