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Hornets’ LaMelo Ball has Grade 2 ankle sprain, out for start of season

Washington Wizards v Charlotte Hornets

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 10: LaMelo Ball #1 of the Charlotte Hornets reacts after he is fouled and injured during the third quarter of the game against the Washington Wizards at Spectrum Center on October 10, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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LaMelo Ball will be watching the tip-off of the Charlotte Hornets’ season from the bench after being diagnosed with a Grade 2 ankle sprain, suffered Monday night in a preseason game against the Wizards.

While the recovery timeline varies, Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes put the average just shy of three weeks, which would have Ball out around five games.

The injury happened in the third quarter Monday night when Ball drove the lane and stepped on the foot of Anthony Gill. Ball was clearly in pain and went directly to the locker room, not to return.

The Hornets are already without their second-best player, Miles Bridges, due to serious legal troubles (which likely will keep him away from the team all season). Young star big man P.J. Washington has missed some time this preseason with ankle issues, but is expected to be ready when the season starts.

The Wizards’ Kristaps Porzingis also suffered a sprained ankle in the same game and did not return to action. After the game coach Wes Unseld said he didn’t think the sprain was too serious or that Porzingis would miss much time.