Hawks’ Sefolosha broke leg in violent NYPD encounter

Written By kom nampuldu on Jumat, 10 April 2015 | 20.49

ATLANTA — Atlanta forward Thabo Sefolosha will miss the Hawks' final four regular-season games and the postseason because of a fractured right fibula and ligament damage suffered when he and teammate Pero Antic were arrested early Wednesday in New York.

The Hawks confirmed Sefolosha's injury Thursday and said he will need surgery. The Swiss player was limping following the arrest.

"This is a very difficult situation for Thabo and our thoughts and support will be with him during his recovery," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said in a statement. "We know that his approach and dedication will serve him well in his rehabilitation. Our team remains focused and will be prepared as we head into the postseason."

Sefolosha's attorney, Alex Spiro, said Wednesday the forward was injured during the arrest, which followed the stabbings of Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland, his girlfriend and another woman on the street near a Manhattan nightclub.

TMZ published footage of the violent police encounter (video contains obscenities in English and French):

Sefolosha and Antic were released without bail after they were charged with obstructing governmental authority and disorderly conduct. Spiro said the two did not commit a crime and he expects the charges to be dismissed.

The Hawks held out Sefolosha and Antic in Wednesday night's 114-111 win at the Brooklyn Nets and haven't said when Antic will return.

Budenholzer said Wednesday the team would support Sefolosha and Antic during the investigation though he said "we never want to see our players put themselves in a potentially negative situation."

"We will continue to look into the facts of the incident but with the information and foundation that we currently have established, we will support them through this process," Budenholzer said in a statement.

Sefolosha wears a right ankle wrap while being perp-walked out of the 10th Precinct.Photo: Reuters

Sefolosha and Antic also released a joint statement Wednesday in which they apologized "to our respective families, teammates, and the Hawks organization for any negative attention this incident has brought upon them."

In the joint statement, the players said they would contest the charges.

"As members of the Atlanta Hawks, we hold ourselves to a high standard and take our roles as professionals very seriously," the statement said. "We will contest these charges and look forward to communicating the facts of the situation at the appropriate time."

The Hawks said Sefolosha's injuries were disclosed in examinations that included an X-ray at Barclays Center on Wednesday and an MRI exam in Atlanta on Thursday.

In 52 games, including seven starts, the 6-foot-7 Sefolosha has averaged 5.3 points and 4.3 rebounds. He is especially valuable in Budenholzer's system for his defense and size on the perimeter.

The Hawks have ample experience without the ninth-year veteran. Sefolosha returned on March 25 after missing 23 games with a right calf injury.

The Hawks (59-19) have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and will play Charlotte on Friday night.


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