LaMelo Ball is ‘done’ with the NBL
LAMELO Ball's NBL stint with the Illawarra Hawks is over with the NBA-bound star still six weeks away from a comeback to the court.
Ball had scans on his bruised left foot on Thursday and while the scans cleared the guard of serious injury, he won't return to the court for at least another six weeks.
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Ball's minder and manager Jermaine Jackson confirmed that the guard won't play again this season, saying: "He is done".
Jackson said the projected top-three NBA draft pick will now begin six weeks of rehabilitation.
The Hawks also released a statement on Friday morning confirming that Ball was finished for the season.
"Doctors have advised that LaMelo Ball's left foot bone bruising has now fully resolved. The 18-year-old point guard will now continue his rehabilitation to include court-based activity under the care of the Hawks medical team," the statement read.
"He is not expected to return to play before the end of the 2019/20 NBL season."
LaMelo Ball goes in the history books as the only player in history to record a triple-double in his final @NBL match played.— NBLfacts (@nblfacts) January 16, 2020
25p,10a,12r at Breakers 30th Nov 2019
He also scored a T/D in 2nd last game
32p,13a,11r vs Cairns 25th Nov 2019#NBL20 pic.twitter.com/WTyHCii6Al
Like many others I’m disappointed with the LaMelo Ball news but we should be thankful for him further exposing how high the @NBL sits in term of a powerful world basketball league.— Cameron Luke (@camluke) January 16, 2020
He came here a possible 2nd rounder and leaves a lottery pick!
Win/Win for all! #NBL20
The last-placed Hawks play their final game against the Sydney Kings on February 14, meaning Ball would have raced the clock to play again this season.
It is a bitter blow for Illawarra, but it could help Ball fully recover heading into NBA draft workouts.
The younger brother of New Orleans NBA star, Lonzo, is aiming to go No. 1 in the 2020 draft this June.
Ball is currently ranked at No. 3 in mock drafts, with analysts confident that he will finish rate highly.
"LeMelo is still out with a foot injury but he has likely solidified a high lottery selection," one reporter said.
"His defence remains a question mark, but his offence play-making is special."
In his 12 NBL games with Illawarra, Ball averaged 17 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7 assists.
He also helped to place the NBL on the global map, with record audiences online tuning in to watch his games,
As revealed in @telegraph_sport, the @IllawarraHawks have confirmed that LaMelo Ball’s @NBL stint is officially over. Ball will now focus on preparing for this June’s @NBA draft. #NBL20 https://t.co/ywVOGXorIB— Matt Logue (@mattlogue7) January 17, 2020
NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger has made the following statement on LaMelo Ball after it was announced he will miss the rest of the season as he recovers from injury.
"It's a shame for LaMelo as I'm sure he would have loved to join his team out there for the end of the season, especially as they have found some winning form of late.
"It's important that he makes a return to full fitness ahead of the NBA draft and we will do everything we can to support that and his aim to become the number one pick.
"Despite his latest injury setback, LaMelo has enjoyed an excellent season and there is no doubt his draft prospects have been firmly enhanced by his time playing in the NBL.
"He has averaged 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists this season. He had consecutive triple doubles in his last two games and is the youngest NBL player to achieve such a feat.
"The aim of the NBL's Next Stars program is to help prepare players for the NBA by playing in a professional and highly competitive league. LaMelo and the other Next Stars players have benefited from this and he is now ready to embark on a successful career in the NBA.
"Illawarra coach Matt Flinn has also commented on how much he has enjoyed coaching LaMelo and he has impressed everyone with his professionalism. He has attracted huge crowds wherever he's played and recently donated a month of his salary to bushfire relief."