A Charlotte Hornets fans' worst nightmare has occurred. Star guard LaMelo Ball was forced to exit the team's NBA preseason game with an ankle injury. Ball landed awkwardly on his ankle while driving to the basket and was clearly in pain as he fell to the hardwood.

Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, LaMelo Ball suffered a left ankle sprain and will not return to the game against the Washington Wizards. Ball had played 20 minutes for the Hornets, contributing nine points on 2-of10 shooting from the field.

The 2020-21 Rookie of the Year also chipped in five rebounds and three assists. It's obviously not what Hornets fans want to see with just one NBA preseason game remaining on the schedule before the team takes on the San Antonio Spurs in the regular season opener on October 19.

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Ball, 21, is looking to build off the first All-Star campaign of his short NBA career. The former third pick in the 2020 NBA Draft dealt with an injury in the first year of his career, as he fractured a bone in his right wrist, causing him to miss a month of action.

It's not yet clear if LaMelo will be facing a potential absence as a result of this ankle injury. If there's any silver lining right now, it's that something like this happened at the beginning of the season.

The Hornets can be cautious with Ball in the early part of the season to preserve his body. The team will likely provide a further update after the game.

Stay tuned.