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Charlotte Hornets' LaMelo Ball suffers fracture in right ankle

LaMelo Ball, a top player for the Charlotte Hornets, fractured his right ankle during Monday night's victory over the Detroit Pistons, the organisation said in a post-game statement.

Early in the third quarter, while dribbling the ball behind his back, Ball seemed to twist his ankle.

He instantly collapsed in pain and had to be replaced. In 21 minutes, he finished with 18 points on 6 3-pointers, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Gordon Hayward claimed that Charlotte's teammates were unaware of the seriousness of Ball's injury until after the game, with the majority believing he had only tweaked something.

He's a key member of our squad, and we thought we were turning a corner, so it's really sad, Hayward said.

Ball has experienced several issues with his other ankle this season; he has sprained his left ankle three times, which has kept him from playing more than 36 games.

The length of Ball's absence was not disclosed by Hornets coach Steve Clifford. Charlotte still has 19 games to play but is out of the playoff picture.

Ball, 21, made the All-Star Game last year and is averaging 23.4 points and 8.5 assists this year.

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