Atlanta Hawks

Thabo Sefolosha

NBPA investigating NYPD’s tactics after Thabo Sefolosha’s season-ending leg injury

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The Hawks lost guard Thabo Sefolosha for the season with a fractured tibia in his right leg, an injury he sustained during an altercation outside a New York City nightclub early Wednesday morning that also saw the stabbing of Pacers forward Chris Copeland. Sefolosha and Hawks teammate Pero Antic were arrested for alleged obstruction of a crime scene, but a video posted on TMZ shows several officers taking down Sefolosha.

The players’ union isn’t thrilled about it and announced Friday that they’re conducting their own investigation into the New York Police Department’s tactics. From ESPN.com’s Kevin Arnovitz:

“The players’ union is concerned about the circumstances of Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic’s arrest and is doing its own investigation of the situation,” NBPA spokeswoman Tara Greco said. “The union was fully engaged in supporting all three players in court and in the precinct this week, and will continue to stay engaged as each situation evolves.”

Both Antic and Sefolosha have said that they will contest the charges brought against them, maintaining that they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Hawks organization has so far supported both players. This is going to be an interesting situation to monitor going forward, and if the players’ union gets involved, that adds another wrinkle to it.

Report: Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha out for the season with leg fracture suffered during his arrest in NYC

Thabo Sefolosha
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Thabo Sefolosha was arrested early Wednesday morning during an incident with police following the stabbing of the Pacers’ Chris Copeland outside of a nightclub in New York City.

He was seen walking with a noticeable limp while police escorted him to be transported, and it appears as though the injury is one that will force him to miss the rest of the season.

From Shams Charania of RealGM:

Atlanta’s Thabo Sefolosha has been diagnosed with a broken ankle from NYPD incident early Wednesday, out for season, sources tell RealGM.

More specifically, Thabo Sefolosha has sustained a fractured tibia in his leg, league sources tell RealGM. MRIs ongoing on other damages.

Sefolosha missed 23 games for the Hawks earlier this year due to a calf strain, but had returned to the lineup recently, and appeared in his team’s last seven consecutive contests before sitting out Wednesday’s win over the Nets.

Sefolosha averaged 5.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in 18.8 minutes per contest for Atlanta this season, but his impact is made on the defensive end of the floor, and could be sorely missed should the top-seeded Hawks advance deep into the postseason.

Chris Copeland undergoes surgery after stabbing, out for Pacers

Orlando Magic v Indiana Pacers
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The fallout from Chris Copeland’s stabbing continues.

Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic, who were arrested during the incident, are out against the Nets and plan to contest the charges.

Al Iannazzone of Newsday:

Copeland, who held a bigger role for the Pacers earlier in the season, had played sparingly the last few months.

Still, he can provide depth as a stretch four for a team that typically plays big.

Indiana, one game out of playoff position, plays Copeland’s former team, the Knicks, tonight. The Pacers should win this one regardless, but it could hurt to miss Copeland for the rest of this postseason push.

More importantly, hopefully Copeland makes a full recovery and takes the time he needs to do so.

Arrested Hawks players Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic release statement about Chris Copeland stabbing incident

Chris Copeland
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As facts are continuing to come out about last night’s stabbing incident involving Pacers forward Chris Copeland, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer and players Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic have released statements. Sefolosha and Antic were arrested at the nightclub were the stabbing occurred for obstructing the police’s attempts to establish a crime scene.

Here’s Budenholzer’s statement:

The events of this morning involving Pero and Thabo were unfortunate as 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. Otherwise it is a continuing legal matter and I will have no further comment.

And this is a joint statement released by Antic and Sefolosha:

As members of the Atlanta Hawks, we hold ourselves to a high standard and take our roles as professionals very seriously. We will contest these charges and look forward to communicating the facts of the situation at the appropriate time. We apologize to our respective families, teammates, and the Hawks organization for any negative attention this incident has brought upon them. We are unable to provide further comment as this is an ongoing legal matter.

The facts are still coming out, but this is how police reports characterized the two Hawks players’ involvement, via the New York Times:

One of the two Hawks team members who were arrested, Thabo Sefolosha, 30, an eight-year veteran from Switzerland, was charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct after he refused to leave and then “charged at an officer,” a police spokeswoman said.

The other Atlanta player, Pero Antic, 32, who is from Macedonia, was charged with obstructing governmental administration, menacing and disorderly conduct. While Mr. Sefolosha was being arrested, the police said, Mr. Antic grabbed another police officer.

Antic and Sefolosha will both be out for tonight’s game against the Nets.

Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha seen limping following his arrest (VIDEO)

Thabo Sefolosha
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Thabo Sefolosha missed 23 games for the Hawks earlier this season due to a calf strain, but had returned to the lineup recently, and appeared in his team’s last seven consecutive contests.

After being arrested early Wednesday morning (along with teammate Pero Antic) for interfering with the police setting up a crime scene following the stabbing of Indiana’s Chris Copeland outside a New York City night club, Sefolosha was seen walking with a pronounced limp as the police escorted him to be transported.

It’s unclear if this is an injury that occurred during the incident, or if it’s serious enough to cause Sefolosha to miss any time.

Meanwhile, some additional details have emerged explaining exactly what prompted the police to arrest the two Hawks players.

From Benjamin Mueller of the New York Times:

One of the Hawk players who was arrested, Thabo Sefolosha, was charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct after he refused to disperse and then “charged at an officer,” a police spokeswoman said.

The other Hawk arrested, Pero Antic, was charged with obstructing governmental administration, menacing and disorderly conduct. While Mr. Sefolosha was being arrested, the police said, Mr. Antic “physically grabbed another police officer.”

The NBA is also conducting its own investigation, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.