Charlotte Hornets' LaMelo Ball, Malik Monk set to return vs. Detroit Pistons

Charlotte Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball, who has been out since March 20 with a fractured wrist, is expected to play in Saturday's game against the Detroit Pistons, the team announced.

Fellow guard Malik Monk, who has been sidelined for a month with an ankle sprain, will also play, the team said.

Hornets coach James Borrego said Ball will start and that both players are expected to be used in short stretches.

"I don't have a specific number of minutes in mind," Borrego said of how much they will play. "The biggest thing are the runs they are going to have out there, probably four- to five-minute runs. I don't think it will be anything past a five-minute run. How many of those runs, I'm not quite sure yet."

Borrego said Ball will start in place of Devonte' Graham.

Ball, who suffered his injury on a fall in a March 20 loss to the LA Clippers, was cleared to resume basketball activity nearly two weeks ago. The third overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, Ball has averaged 15.9 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game this season.

Borrego said he believes Ball is deserving of NBA Rookie of the Year honors.

"I'm excited that he gets a chance to continue that season and not have it cut short as it potentially could have," Borrego said.

In his fourth season with the Hornets, Monk is averaging a career-high 13.1 points in a reserve role.

Borrego said he is thrilled to get both players back in time for a playoff push. The Hornets (30-32) had been as high as fourth in the Eastern Conference standings before injuries to Ball, Monk and Gordon Hayward, who is still out with a sprained foot. Charlotte entered the night in eighth place in the East with 10 games to play.

Borrego said Ball "has had a major impact on our winning this season."

"We will see how these two guys will look," Borrego said. "They have been off for a while, and I don't know what to expect tonight. Some guys hit the ground running, and some others take a few games to find their rhythm."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.