*Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland is in stable condition at a New York hospital today after he was stabbed early Wednesday outside of a New York club.
After undergoing surgery on Thursday, he issued a statement thanking supporters and apologizing for being out late on a game night.
“I just want to thank everyone for their well wishes and prayers. I’m overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. I look forward to coming back stronger than ever. Thank you,” he said in a statement given to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
Copeland suffered knife wounds to his left elbow and abdomen, and a source told Anderson the knife blade touched his diaphragm. In addition, a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN’s Chris Broussard that Copeland fractured his elbow. The man who attacked Copeland was arrested, and two members of the Hawks, Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha, were also charged for trying to prevent police from setting up a crime scene.
The Pacers also issued a statement later Thursday on behalf of Copeland, in which he said he wanted to “apologize to everyone, particularly the NBA and the Pacers for my bad choice at being out at that time.”
He is expected to remain in intensive care for two or three more days, the source told Anderson. Doctors wanted to clear the wound on Copeland’s elbow because they thought it could be susceptible to infection. He also suffered lacerations to his left hand.
A 28-year-old woman, Katrine Saltara, was also stabbed, police said. Saltara, who lives in New York, and Copeland had been engaged.
The suspect, Shezoy Bleary, 22, was in custody, authorities said. Police said charges were pending, and it wasn’t clear whether Bleary had an attorney who could comment on the charges. A switchblade was recovered at the scene.
A second woman, who was believed to be with the attacker, also was slashed in the abdomen during the incident. She was hospitalized and in stable condition, according to the New York Daily News.
Antic and Sefolosha were arrested on charges of obstructing the crime scene, after police said they blocked officers from trying to start their investigation. The players were in town to play the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on Wednesday night and had arrived late Tuesday after playing a night game in Atlanta.
A source said the Hawks players were not in Copeland’s party at the 1Oak nightclub. Antic and Sefolosha were released without bail after a brief court appearance in which they were charged with obstructing governmental authority and disorderly conduct. Their attorney, Alex Spiro, said they did not commit any crime.
“They should not have been arrested. We fully expect the case to be dismissed,” he said.
The Hawks released a statement from 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.”