Injury Woes Continue for the Hornets

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Right after the Charlotte Hornets and their fans were relieved to learn of star LaMelo Ball's return tonight from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, they got hit with another blow in Friday night's loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Rookie sensation Brandon Miller left in the second quarter with a lower back contusion and did not return.

What Happened?

With 10:26 to go in the second quarter, the Hornets broke out into transition. Lamelo Ball passed the ball to Brandon Miller, who hacked hard at the rim by the Spur's Keldon Johnson. No flagrant was issued on the play. After that, the deflation amongst the team was palpable as they went on to lose 135-99. According to the Charlotte Observer, Lamelo stated "That's been a trend here". You never want to see somebody go down. It's always tough to see your gang go down. Hopefully, he'll get the treatment he needs and get back out there", Ball said.

Rookie Sensations

This matchup marked the first meeting between the first two overall picks, Victor Wembanyama and Brandon Miller in the regular season. The two did meet in Summer League action back in July. Wembanyama recorded twenty-six points and ten rebounds. Miller had just a point when he exited, but that is more reflective of the team's overall play in this contest. Many fans who had been clamoring for Scoot Henderson are now thrilled with the choice and Miller's prospects. The teams meet again on January 19th, and ideally then, we'll see the matchup in its entirety.

Affect on Team

The Hornets are also still without second-year center Mark Williams, who had been having a promising sophomore stint. Cody Martin, the team's primary defender, remained out with a groin injury. With continuous line-up changes, it becomes tough for any team to build chemistry, and this undoubtedly affects morale. The Hornets currently sit at 8-28, which is 13th in the Eastern Conference. They face the Miami Heat on Sunday. The newly returned Ball had twenty-eight points.

What's Next?

Of course, Ball's ankle issue that he's worked back from has repeated and nagging injury. Before the season started, he contemplated wearing ankle braces but found that they were uncomfortable in in-game action. The focus moving forward must be to build around Ball and Miller and present a long-term plan and vision for them. In the last few seasons, Mitch Kupchak has taken a more passive approach at the trade deadline. It will be interesting to see if that continues or if the more major moves fans are hoping for come to fruition.