Hornets’ LaMelo Ball comes out of defeat after injuring his left ankle

CHARLOTTE, NC — LaMelo Ball’s first home game of the season didn’t go anywhere near as he’d hoped.

Not only did the Charlotte Hornets lose 125-113 to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night, but Ball re-injured his left ankle when he stepped on a fan’s foot with 1 minute 34 seconds left in the game.

Ball was trying to save a ball from going off the field when he stepped on the foot of a fan sitting near the Hornets dugout as he tried to prepare himself not to walk into the crowd.

It’s the same ankle that caused Ball to miss part of the preseason and the first 13 games of the regular season.

Hornets head coach Steve Clifford had no immediate update on Ball’s status, and Ball was not made available to speak to reporters after the game.

The Hornets are in Cleveland Friday night.

This was Ball’s third game since his first ankle injury in the preseason, but his first at home. It started with him getting a big introduction from the announcer to the crowd and a huge round of applause during the pre-game introductions, but walking out with a grimace on his face as he limped to the locker room.

Ball was stellar when he played, finishing with 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including five 3-pointers. He also had six assists turning the ball over four times.

“He was great tonight,” said Clifford.

The Hornets have been hit hard by injuries this season.

Along with Ball missing 13 games, Cody Martin missed all but one of games with quad and knee issues that ultimately required surgery, Gordon Hayward missed the last eight games with a shoulder injury and Dennis Smith the last three for an ankle sprain. Earlier in the day, the Hornets also announced first-round pick Mark Williams suffered an ankle injury while playing for the G League’s Greensboro Swarm.

Terry Rozier also missed seven games with an ankle injury.

“It’s very tough, but we have to be pros about it,” said Hornets guard Kelly Oubre Jr. “It’s the game of basketball and these things happen. to go catch up on that game.”

However, forward PJ Washington said he is anxious for the day when the Hornets (4-12) will be complete.

“We all know that everyone is going to be back out there at some point and we can’t wait,” Washington said. “But right now the problem is we’re losing games, so we need to understand that and start getting some wins.”

Charlotte (4-12) has lost nine of its last 10 games after starting the season 3-3 with a win over the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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