Atlanta forward Al Horford was suspended for one game by the NBA Thursday for a flagrant foul against Toronto’s T.J. Ford.
Ford was injured when Horford struck him on the head and knocked him down as Ford was trying to score on a breakaway with 1:32 left in the game Tuesday night. Horford, ejected for a flagrant foul penalty two, said he was trying to block Ford’s shot.
Ford was released from an Atlanta hospital Wednesday and flew home to Toronto. Ford spent the night in Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital for observation and tests.
INJURY-RIDDLED SPURS: The defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs faced the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night without stars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
Duncan, averaging 17.6 points and 8.9 rebounds, sat out his fourth straight game because of a sprained right ankle. Parker, averaging 20.1 points and 6.8 assists, missed his first game of the season with a sprained left ankle.
Coach Gregg Popovich said Duncan might return to action Saturday night when the Spurs entertain Denver, but Parker will probably be out a little longer.
“Tony’s been laboring for two, three games with his foot,” Popovich said. “I just had to make the call that he sits. It’s real sore. He can’t plant and spin. It’s not going to heal unless he sits.”
Duncan sat out only two games in each of the last two seasons. Parker has played in 492 games while missing just 22 in his six-plus seasons with the Spurs.
TIMBERWOLVES: Minnesota center Theo Ratliff will have exploratory arthroscopic surgery next week on his right knee that has kept him out for the past month.
HORNETS: New Orleans center Melvin Ely has a fractured left eye socket that will keep him out of the lineup when the Hornets play at Dallas tonight. Ely was hurt when he was elbowed by the Nuggets’ Kenyon Martin during the second quarter of the Hornets’ 105-99 loss in Denver Wednesday night.
CLIPPERS: The Clippers waived forward Ruben Patterson Thursday, hours after he helped them beat the Nets in New Jersey for the first time in nearly 10 years.
Patterson and Tim Thomas led a 16-5 run that put the Clippers ahead for good in the third quarter of Wednesday night’s 91-82 victory.
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