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LaMelo Ball could make season debut Saturday night vs. Heat

Brooklyn Nets v Charlotte Hornets

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 05: LaMelo Ball #1 of the Charlotte Hornets looks on during their game against the Brooklyn Nets at Spectrum Center on November 05, 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 Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

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This is bad news for a Miami Heat team that needs to take both games for a baseball-style two-game homestand against the Hornets to right their ship (and needed overtime to take the first one).

After shootaround Saturday morning the Hornets are expected to upgrade LaMelo Ball to questionable, meaning he could make his season debut later that night in Miami (at whatever we’re calling that arena now). From Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer.

If not Saturday, Charlotte plays at Orlando on Monday.

Ball was an All-Star last season, averaging 20.1 points and 7.6 rebounds a game while shooting 38.9% from 3, but he has missed all of this season with a sprained left ankle. The Hornets’ offense has stalled out without Ball’s elite playmaking and transition wizardry, with a 105.6 offensive rating that is 28th in the league. His return could turn the season around in Charlotte.

The Hornets have been hit hard with injuries, both Cody Martin and Gordon Hayward are expected to miss Saturday’s game. But Ball could be back, and that’s a huge boost.