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LeBron James had to be removed from the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA encounter against the Detroit Pistons after drawing blood on Isaiah Stewart’s face.
The pair fought for a rebound on Sunday night at the Little Caesars Arena and James ’ elbow appeared to strike Stewart just above his neck.
The collision saw a huge eruption of anger as Stewart, covered in blood, was forcibly held back by teammates.
The 20-year-old appeared to calm down at one point and agreed to head to the locker room – but it was a ruse to get James without restraint.
Stewart charged at James again but players, referees, and coaches managed to cling on and keep him away. The player had to be taken off the court and eventually reached the locker room.
Stewart was dismissed early in the third quarter after being assessed for two technical fouls for his role in the fracas.
James was called for a Flagrant 2 foul – meaning two penalty points for the season – while Lakers guard Russell Westbrook was assessed a technical following official's conclusion that he was an ‘escalator.’
Following the game, the Lakers’ Anthony Davis praised players, coaches and Pistons security for dealing with the situation well.
“Everybody did a great job trying to deescalate the situation,” Davis said after the Lakers beat the Pistons 121-116. “You never want it to get to that point like 17 years ago.”
The eight-time NBA All-Star was referring to in 2004 when the Pistons and Indiana Pacers faced off and a cup tossed from the stands resulted in what’s considered as one of the worst brawls in American sports history.
What's the worst injury you've seen in sports history? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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“Everyone in the league knows LeBron isn’t a dirty guy,” Davis said. “As soon as he did it, he looked back and told him, ‘My bad.’”
“I don’t think James is a dirty player, but Stew cut his eye,” Detroit’s coach Dwane Casey said. “He felt like he had been cheap-shotted across the brow. I’m not even sure he knew who hit him.”
Stewart will likely face suspension for his behaviour on the court after play stopped, but all involved are likely to face fines.
- LeBron James
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