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In a shocking scene outside a New York nightclub, one NBA player was stabbed and two more arrested during a dispute early Wednesday morning, according to several local media reports.
Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland, 31, a former member of the Knicks, was stabbed in the abdomen around 4 a.m., the New York Daily News reported. Katrine Saltara, 28, who was with Copeland, and another woman were also slashed during the argument. All three were rushed to area hospitals and are expected to recover.
Shevoy Bleary-Murdock, 22, was arrested for allegedly striking Copeland, Saltara and 23-year-old Catherine Somani with a knife outside celebrity nightclub 1 OAK. Bleary and Somani were reportedly acquaintances.
— glenn schuck (@glennschuck) April 8, 2015
1 Oak released a statement saying the altercation did not start in the club.
Two Atlanta Hawks players were also arrested amid the fracas. Thabo Sefolosha, 30, and Pero Antic, 32, were not involved in the fight, but "refused to move when police tried to set up a crime scene," sources told the Daily News. They both face charges of obstructing justice and disorderly conduct, the New York Post reported. Respectively, Sefolosha and Antic were reportedly also charged with resisting arrest and menacing.
Sefolosha and Antic released a joint statement saying they will contest the charges.
“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.”
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said in a statement that the team will support the players, based on the team's initial interpretation of what happened.
“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."
Sefolosha also apparently sustained an ankle injury during the incident that will need to be evaluated, Budenholzer told reporters. Neither Sefolosha nor Antic played in Wednesday's game against the Brooklyn Nets.
The Pacers, who trail the Boston Celtics by just one game for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, are scheduled to face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
A native of Orange, N.J., Copeland joined the Knicks in 2012 as a 28-year-old rookie after years playing in Europe. He signed a two-year, $6.1 million contract with Indiana following the 2012-13 NBA campaign and has averaged 6.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 16.6 minutes over 50 games for the Pacers this season.
“We are aware that Chris Copeland was injured early this morning in New York City," Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird said in a statement on Wednesday morning. "We are still gathering information and will update when we know more. Our thoughts are with Chris and those injured.”
In December 2003, the 6-foot-8, 235-pound Copeland was hit in the arm by a stray bullet at a party during his sophomore season at the University of Colorado.
On Tuesday night, the Hawks set a franchise record by capturing their 58th regular-season win against the visiting Suns, meaning Sefolosha and Antic did not arrive in New York until hours before the incident. The two reserve forwards combined for nine points and 10 rebounds off the bench against Phoenix. Atlanta is scheduled to face the Nets in Brooklyn on Wednesday night. The Hawks have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the East and could potentially face Copeland's Pacers in the first round of the playoffs.
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