Photo: Charlotte Hornets/Twitter

Charlotte Hornets centerpiece LaMelo Ball expects himself to be fully available for the team’s 2023-24 training camp for September, per Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

Ball underwent a season-ending surgery in his fractured right ankle last Mar. 1. Prior to that, he already battled plenty of left ankle issues that limited him to just 36 games this season.

“Tough, probably annoying just going through it,” Ball said of his current status. “But (I’m) still alive so you can’t really be too mad. Just go through the rehab and that whole process and try to come out on top.”

Ball was activated by the Hornets Monday in front of the media since he underwent the medical procedure to address his ankle. The talented guard was seen wearing a walking boot in his right foot, while also using arm crutches to support his movement.

It was a challenging season not only for Ball, but also for the entire Hornets. After nearly making it to the playoffs last year, they eventually stumbled this 2022-23. The legal issues of Miles Bridges hurted their depth and promising firepower, while their several other key units were also bothered by injury issues.

“Well, we didn’t make the playoffs or nothing,” Ball said. “Thirty-six games, 20, 50 – it didn’t really matter. The fact that we didn’t make it and can kind of get ready for next season makes it a little easier.”

At 23-50, the door of the postseason is already closed for Charlotte. Since 2016, the franchise hasn’t made a significant step yet to enter the contention arena for the NBA title.

For Ball, this can only serve as a motivation for him and the Hornets to finally make a gigantic leap and be there once and for all.

“Oh yeah, definitely I ain’t been there,” Ball said about the playoffs. “Every team, that’s the goal, and next year we’ve really got to make it happen.”

As the team’s prized pick last 2020 Draft who went on to win the 20-21 Rookie of the Year, Ball is eligible to ink a max rookie extension with the Hornets.

For him, having the offer sheet in front of him can’t be more perfect to pledge his commitment to the Charlotte franchise and lead them to prominence.

“Yeah,” Ball said about signing a rookie extension with Hornets. “I love it here.”