No one likes getting injured. That goes double for athletes. While ailments are part of the trade, getting hurt at the top level can create a lot of issues and, in some rare cases, even completely derail a career.
The below sections will study the impact injuries can have on a player by looking at LaMelo Ball’s budding career. Analyzing his issues will show, not just how injuries can happen and affect a player, but also the way they can be avoided as time goes on.
Rolling into the League
Ball, just like his two older brothers before him, was highly touted from a young age. He verbally committed to UCLA as a freshman, and excelled at every level. He blew away most of the competition, even when bouncing around between different professional leagues.
However, as strong as he was, he didn’t get to the NBA scot free. Just a few months before entering the draft, the young phenom suffered a rough foot injury while playing for the Illawarra Hawks in the Australian Basketball League.
The ailment was set to last for four weeks, but Ball decided to part ways to avoid any further damage. That move paid off, allowing him to heal and getting his body into shape for the draft.
Lower Body Issues
Ball has only been in the league for three seasons. Even so, he’s spent most of that time on the court. Though he dinged his foot in his draft year, his young age allowed him to bounce back without any problems. At least, right away.
The flashy guard played in 51 games during his first year with the Hornets. Most of those came from early on in the season. That’s because, while Ball started out strong, things came to a halt on March 21st when he accidentally fractured a bone in his right wrist.
The break was supposed to sideline him indefinitely, but he came back less than two months later on May 1st. That once again showed his resilience. He went on to finish the season and would play in 75 games during 2021. Unfortunately, that healthy streak wasn’t set to last.
Before the most recent season, LaMelo’s lower body betrayed him again. This time it was his ankle. He suffered a sprain during the preseason, which caused him to be sidelined for the first thirteen games of the season.
Shortly after returning, he then stepped on a fan’s foot who was sitting courtside. That reaggravated the already damaged area and caused the point guard to miss more time. He’s recovered since, but it’s still an issue the organization is watching quite closely.
Keeping It Going
Ball is just starting what appears to be a long and successful NBA career. However, as great as he is, nobody can play while sitting on the bench. His lower body injuries aren’t cause for concern just yet, but they aren’t something the team can ignore either.
The Hornets struggle without him on the court, which is why keeping him healthy is so important. That creates a tough decision with no easy solution.
It’s always critical to get star players out on the court, but doing so can come with a risk. Though New Orleans might be tempted to get him back as soon as possible, taking extra time to prepare for the future is typically a better move.
As far as injuries go, LaMelo started strong. Now, his ankle and feet are both things he needs to watch going forward. His talent is undeniable, as is his ability to make his team better. Being (and staying) healthy is a big part of that.