NEW YORK (AFP) — Indiana Pacers forward JaKarr Sampson was suspended one game without pay by the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Wednesday for headbutting San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills.
The league also announced fines for Australian Mills and Spurs forward Rudy Gay for their roles in an on-court altercation that came with 9:32 to play in the fourth quarter of San Antonio’s 109-94 victory on Monday at Indianapolis.
The incident began when Sampson and Mills were battling for rebounding position and continued on the next possession when Mills made contact with Sampson, who shoved Mills in response.
Sampson then aggressively confronted and headbutted Mills, resulting in a Flagrant Foul 2 call and an automatic ejection.
Sampson will serve his ban Wednesday when the Pacers play host to Oklahoma City.
Mills, who received a technical foul in the altercation, was fined $25,000 and Gay, who also received a technical foul, was fined $20,000 for escalating the incident by shoving Sampson.
The Pacers rank ninth in the Eastern Conference at 26-31 while the Spurs are 10th in the West at 28-28.
Meanwhile, Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray had surgery to repair a torn left knee ligament and remains out indefinitely, the NBA team said Wednesday.
The 24-year-old Canadian tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on 12 April in the Nuggets’ loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Just seconds from the end of the contest his knee buckled as he drove to the basket and he collapsed to the court in pain.
Losing Murray was a significant blow for the Nuggets, who had acquired Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee at the trade deadline to boost what they hoped would be a deep post-season run led by Most Valuable Player candidate Nikola Jokic and Murray.