TURNS out LaMelo's Ball's sore foot was sorer than first thought with the potential No. 1 pick in next year's NBA Draft facing four weeks on the sidelines.
Ball missed Saturday's loss to Brisbane with foot soreness after carrying the bulk of the Hawks offensive load since Aaron Brooks suffered a season-ending achilles injury.
ESPN Draft guru Jonathan Givony took to Twitter on Monday saying the 18-year-old is facing a month out.
"LaMelo Ball -- the potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft -- is expected to miss four weeks with a foot injury, sources tell ESPN. There's hope that NBA teams can resume scouting him in the Australian NBL in January," he tweeted.
The Hawks released a statement soon after saying Ball will complete his rehab in Wollongong and return to the floor in January.
"Projected NBA20 Number One Draft Pick LaMelo Ball will miss approximately four weeks with a foot injury," the statement read.
"Ball suffered a bruised foot in practice and was prescribed to rest by a specialist,which will likely keep him out of action until January.
"The 18-year-old has had a major impact on the team thus far, averaging 17 points,7.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 31 minutes per game, dramatically improving hisdraft stock in the process.
"Ball will rehab his injury in Australia and is expected to make a full recovery and continue to play for the Hawks for the remainder of the season."
The injury came amid NBL concerns over the 18-year-old's heavy workload as the Hawks struggled to find a replacement for Brooks.
The club has since added swingman Darington Hobson and power forward Billy Preston, but it may have come too late to ease the pressure on the star rookie.
The potential setback will only fuel speculation that Ball won't see out the season with the Hawks with his Draft stock already at a high following consecutive triple-doubles.
With the Hawks out of finals contention, Ball would only return for the final four weeks of the season should the injury reports prove correct.
Ball's Next Stars contract is held by the NBL, not Illawarra, and it's understood it does not contain a binding obligation for him to see out the current campaign.