LaMelo Ball Wrist Fracture: NBA Injury Watch & Return Timetable for Rookie Star

Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist here to provide NBA injury analysis on the LaMelo Ball wrist fracture.

A strong rookie campaign for Charlotte Hornets G LaMelo Ball appears to be over following a right wrist injury Sunday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. The injury occurred with 4:47 left in the 2nd quarter when Ball drove to the basket before falling down, landing on both of his wrists extended. He continued to play for the rest of the second half before exiting the game. An MRI later revealed that he suffered a broken wrist, specifically a bone near the thumb. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski initially reported that Ball would be out the remainder of the season.

LaMelo Ball Wrist Fracture

A detailed diagram of the Carpal Bones. (Credit: GeekyMedics.com)

While it has not been disclosed which bone was broken, it is likely the scaphoid bone, one of 8 carpals within the wrist. The scaphoid sits at the base of the thumb and can be palpated within the anatomical snuffbox. The scaphoid is the most commonly broken bone in the wrist and typically occurs due to a fall on an outstretched hand, or FOOSH injury. Unfortunately, this is the exact mechanism that Ball suffered. 

An example of a FOOSH injury. (Credit: EMnote.org)

Normally bones can take anywhere from 3-to-12 weeks based on location, but the scaphoid takes longer, upwards of 12 weeks due to its poor blood supply. This bone can heal on its own but in certain instances requires surgery to ensure a complete recovery. 

Considering this is his shooting hand, it would be impossible to attempt to play with any bracing on the area. While there is no optimum time for injury, Ball’s loss will undoubtedly make the Hornets playoff push more difficult. They are in the thick of the playoff race as the 8th seed where seeds 7 through 10 have a play-in tournament to enter the postseason. He could hypothetically return if the Hornets make a deep playoff push to at least the Eastern Conference Finals. 

NBA Betting & Fantasy Basketball Analysis

If the Hornets can win the play-in tournament and secure a first-round series win, it’s possible that Ball could plan to attempt to return. However, I do not expect the team to rush Ball back unless a deep playoff run occurs. It’s best to avoid any bets on the Hornets until it’s seen how the team performs without Ball. A savvy move fantasy-wise would be to pick up Devonte’ Graham before it’s confirmed that Ball is official ruled out.

Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist who also works as an injury spotter for Dr. David Chao. Kyle has extensive experience in outpatient orthopedics, skilled nursing, acute care hospital, and home care. He’s also a member of Bills Mafia and runs the website Banged Up Bills.

Disclaimer from Kyle: My opinions are my own. Any thoughts I have on the injuries are based on media reports, my knowledge of the injury, and speculation based on the information currently available including video and print media. This information is subject to change based on the information released by the team.

After reading Kyle’s update on LaMelo Ball Wrist Fracture: NBA Injury Watch, get more NBA betting and fantasy basketball tips

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