Is LaMelo Ball playing tonight? Bulls at Hornets injury report for January 31st

Dec 28, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA;  Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (1) looks on from the bench.
Dec 28, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (1) looks on from the bench. / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Hornets will be back on the court at the Spectrum Center Wednesday night to host the Chicago Bulls in a matchup of the Eastern Conference’s 9th and 13th-place teams in the current standings.

The Bulls are sitting at 22-26 on the season, and have lost three of their last four games, but they’re still squarely in the hunt for a spot in the play-in tournament. That dream has long been dead for the 10-35 Hornets, who come into Wednesday night on a four-game skid and having lost 22 of their last 25 games.

Each team comes into this meeting with a fairly lengthy injury report as well, with star players likely missing in action for both sides.

Hornets Injury Report

The key status to watch for is that of star point guard, LaMelo Ball. Ball returned from injury on January 12th but has missed the team’s past two games with an ankle injury. He’s officially listed as ‘Doubtful’ and it seems like he’s trending in the wrong direction The longer this ankle injury lingers, obviously the more concerning it is.

Beyond LaMelo, Mark Williams (back), Gordon Hayward (calf), Amari Bailey (g-league), and Kylre Lowry (not with team) will all remain out for tonight’s game. Miles Bridges is also listed as ‘Probable’ for the game with an elbow contusion, but a very reliable source has indicated that he will indeed suit up tonight for the Hornets.

Bulls Injury Report

The Bulls enter the game with a fairly crowded injury report of their own. That report includes LaMelo’s brother, Lonzo Ball, who hasn’t been able to play in over two full calendar years with knee injuries that may prove to be career-ending. 

Along with Lonzo, Zach LaVine (ankle), Dalen Terry (ankle), and Patrick Williams (foot) have all been ruled out tonight for Chicago. LaVine has been the subject of various trade rumors, but his contract and frequent injuries may render a trade nearly impossible.

The injuries to Terry and Williams were suffered in the last few games and the Bulls hope they are not long-term, but Terry will at least be sidelined for tonight, and Williams for at least a couple of weeks.

Veteran swingman, Torrey Craig has been out since mid-December with a foot injury, but Bulls coach, Billy Donovan recently said he’s “Inching closer to a return” and he was upgraded from ‘Out’ to ‘Doubtful’ for tonight’s game. He’s still unlikely to play, but it appears a return may be on the horizon.

Despite those players being out for the game, the Bulls are still currently listed as five-and-a-half-point favorites on the road.