exas' Ford hurt in pickup game

From staff and wire reports

Web Posted : 04/17/2003 12:00 AM

AUSTIN - Texas sophomore point guard T.J. Ford, the Player of the Year in college basketball, was released from St. David's Hospital on Wednesday night after an examination for an unspecified injury that he suffered during a pickup game earlier in the day.
A spokesman for the athletic department declined comment on reports that Ford suffered a neck injury described in broadcast reports as "a stinger."

"T.J. Ford was injured this afternoon at Gregory Gym during a pickup basketball game," spokesman Scott McConnell said. "He was taken to St. David's, where he was admitted, seen and released."

Ford was taken to a hospital by ambulance after being injured in the pickup game Wednesday at about 5:30 p.m. He was examined in the emergency room, before he was released at about 10 p.m.

McConnell described the evaluation as precautionary and declined to provide further detail, citing federal privacy laws.

Mary Ford, the player's mother, told the San Antonio Express-News in a telephone interview from her home in Houston that her son is fine.

"Because if he wasn't fine, we wouldn't be home answering the phone," she said, declining to elaborate on the nature of the injury.

Seth Galton, a Texas sophomore watching the pickup game, told the Austin American-Statesman that Ford was dribbling up the court when he was slapped on the back of his neck by an unidentified player and fell to the court.

Galton described the contact as "very minor."

Ford remained on the floor for almost an hour, Galton said, adding that the point guard stayed motionless until emergency medical personnel arrived. Ford's neck was stabilized and he was placed onto a stretcher.

McConnell declined comment on whether the injury is related to a congenital defect in Ford's neck that was diagnosed in the summer of 2001.

The defect, known as cervical spinal stenosis, had caused Ford to experience numbness in his arms in the summer before his first season at Texas.

Initially, Texas announced that summer that Ford would undergo surgery to correct the defect. But the surgery was canceled after it was decided that Ford was not "at a high risk of potential injury," according to a Texas press release issued in July of 2001.

Ford has had no problems with the spinal stenosis in his first two seasons at Texas, even playing through a game against Georgia at New York's Madison Square Garden last November after he flipped and landed on his upper back.

Ford was conscious when he arrived at the hospital, McConnell said. There were no coaches or trainers on the scene when he was injured.

Texas coach Rick Barnes came out of Ford's emergency room about 7:15 p.m. He remained at the hospital and was smiling and joking with reporters, but declined comment on the injury.

Ford won the Wooden Award and the Naismith Award, both college basketball player of the year honors. Ford led the team in five statistical categories this season - including points with 15 per game and assists (7.7).



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Express-News staff writers Mark Wangrin and Jerry Briggs and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

04/17/2003








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