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LaMelo Ball leaves game with sprained ankle. Again. Will miss time.

This has been a rough season for LaMelo Ball. And his ankles.

He sprained his ankle during training camp, costing him the first 13 games of the season. He returned for all of three games and sprained his ankle again stepping on the foot of a courtside fan while chasing a loose ball. He was out 11 more games after that.

Ball returned and was playing maybe the best basketball of his career over the next 18 games — averaging 23.5 points and 8.2 assists a night — when he was forced to leave Wednesday’s game against the Rockets after teammate P.J. Washington landed on his ankle, spraining it. Again.

There is hope he will not be out as long this time, Ball said after the game that this one didn’t feel as bad as his previous sprains. That said, there is no official update and he will miss time. Considering the Hornets are in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes (they have the third-worst record in the NBA, and are likely to be sellers at the trade deadline), there will be no rush on their part to bring him back.

Charlotte did go on to still pick up a 122-117 win against Houston thanks to 26 from Terry Rozier. The win was coach Steve Clifford’s 208th as the Hornets’ head coach, setting the franchise’s all-time record.