The Charlotte Hornets received a tough blow a week before the 2022-23 NBA season begins.
LaMelo Ball exited Monday's preseason game against the Washington Wizards with an ankle injury. The diagnosis is in after undergoing tests on Tuesday.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Ball will miss the start of the season with a Grade 2 left ankle sprain.
"His return to full basketball activities will be determined by his response to rehab and treatment and further updates on his status will be provided as appropriate," the Hornets said on Twitter.
The No. 3 pick in 2020, Ball has quickly established himself as Charlotte's franchise cornerstone. He averaged 20.1 points, 7.6 assists, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game in his second NBA season.
Ball has at least avoided the worst-case scenario, and there's little reason to rush back the 21-year-old guard. While the Hornets improved to 43-39 last season, they remain a young team without legitimate title hopes this year.
Charlotte will probably open the season without Ball when facing the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 19.