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Hornets star LaMelo Ball sidelined with ankle sprain

After narrowly missing the playoffs for the second straight season, the Hornets are looking to take a step forward.

However, that will begin with an early uphill battle. Star point guard LaMelo Ball will be sidelined for one to two weeks to start the 2022-23 season due to a left ankle sprain.

Ball suffered the injury during Monday’s preseason game. His left foot was stepped on by Washington Washington Wizards big man Anthony Gill as he drove to the basket.


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Head coach Steve Clifford voiced that the All-Star point guard’s absence will push Terry Rozier into that role.

“Terry was the starting point guard on a team (the Boston Celtics in 2017-18) that went to the Eastern Conference finals,” Clifford said via ESPN. “It’s a role he is comfortable with, and if that ends up being the situation, that is how we will do it.”

Rozier has handled that type of role before in his career, which will lessen the blow of having Ball out of the lineup. Since joining the Hornets, he has been a highly-reliable offensive factor.

He’s coming off averaging 19.3 points and a career-best 4.5 assists while shooting 44.4% from the floor and 37.4% from beyond the arc. Ball’s absence will also give Dennis Smith Jr. more playing time.

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The Hornets will likely lean on Rozier and Gordon Hayward to lead the charge offensively. Hayward is a proven scorer and has found a career resurgence in Charlotte.

The Hornets will open the regular season against the San Antonio Spurs.

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