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LaMelo Ball's NBL era ends, following foot scan
According to Fox Sports Australia's Olgun Uluc, Jermaine Jackson, Ball's manager and trainer, confirmed on Thursday evening that the point guard is done for the rest of this NBL 2019/20 season.
Update: the Illawarra Hawks confirmed the news on Friday with an official release.
Ball, who has been out of action since December last year, was supposed to return in January, as reported by ESPN's Jonathan Givony. According to The Daily Telegraph's Matt Logue, Ball had scans done on his foot on Thursday. The NBA lottery prospect is now reported to require an additional six weeks of training to get back in game shape, which would put his return after the NBL's regular season finishes.
The Pick and Roll's Jacob Doole discussed this possibility last year, with prudence on injury management being one factor among others, in the lead up to the 2020 NBA draft.
"... Illawarra are reporting it as nothing more than minor soreness, but foot injuries are notoriously hard to read at times. With the Hawks out of finals contention and a huge contract awaiting in the NBA, Ball may decide that the risk of injury is too high when he has little investment in the long-term future of his team or the league. After all, if this soreness were to progress into anything more serious, it could seriously impact his draft stock and the start of his NBA career."
Flight risk: LaMelo Ball says he'll play out the NBL season, but should he?
The Illawarra Hawks are currently in last place with a 5-17 season record. Ball, who played 12 games this season, averaged 17 points, 7 assists and 7.5 rebounds, and slid down to third in ESPN's latest mock draft.