Atlanta Hawks swingman Thabo Sefolosha will miss the rest of the 2014-15 NBA season with a fractured fibula, the result of an alleged altercation with police following the stabbing of Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland on Wednesday morning.
The defensive-minded reserve, in his first season with Atlanta, has a fractured right fibula. RealGM’s Shams Charnia was the first to report the news:
Atlanta's Thabo Sefolosha has been diagnosed with a broken ankle from NYPD incident early Wednesday, out for season, sources tell RealGM.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 9, 2015
Sefolosha had a pronounced limp as he was escorted to a police van to be transported for arraignment. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said Sefolosha will be evaluated by doctors for an ankle injury before the team played the Nets Wednesday night.
According to the police report, officers asked Antic and Sefolosha to clear the area to establish a crime scene six times before they were arrested. The report states the two moved a couple feet away but did not clear the area. The report also states that Sefolosha then charged officers in an “aggressive manner.”
Police officer Johnpaul Giancona wrote: “When I approached the defendant to place him under arrest for the above described conduct, I observed the defendant flail his arms, twist his body, kick his legs, and struggle against me making it difficult for me to place handcuffs on him and complete the arrest. It took four officers to place the defendant in handcuffs.”
Sefolosha and Antic said in a joint statement that they will contest the charges.
In a statement, the Hawks relayed that Sefolosha suffered the injury to his right leg, and that he also suffered ligament damage that will require surgery.
Sefolosha had enjoyed a rebirth of sorts in Atlanta this season, averaging 5.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in only 18 minutes a contest, playing his typically stellar and versatile defense. He also missed 23 games earlier this season with a right calf strain, with Atlanta going 14-9 without him. The Hawks will finish this season with the best record in the East, and they’ve gone 43-9 without Sefolosha in the lineup.
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With DeMarre Carroll already in the starting lineup and Kent Bazemore ready to contribute, the Hawks are well stocked at Sefolosha’s position. Sefolosho is the superior individual defender, though, and he has had some success in bothering LeBron James defensively in the past. What his absence does for their overall defensive schemes and potentially their mindset remains in the air.
As far as any lingering frustrations toward either player and/or police is concerned, we should advise ourselves to attempt to let this one breathe. It’s early, and we just don’t know in full what happened in the wee hours on Wednesday. We just don’t know, yet, beyond the sad images of Copeland in peril, and a limping Sefolosha working his way out of the 2014-15 season.
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