By Ben Rohrbach
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. His wife, Katrine Saltara, 28, and another woman were also slashed during the argument. All three were rushed to area hospitals and are expected to recover.
Shezoy Bleary, 22, was arrested for allegedly striking Copeland, Saltara and 53-year-old Catherine Somani with a knife outside celebrity nightclub 1 OAK. Bleary and Somani were reportedly acquaintances.
Two Atlanta Hawks players were also arrested amid the fracas. Thabo Sefolosha, 30, and Pero Antic, 32, "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.
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.