Thabo Sefolosha addressed the media Tuesday for the first time since his arrest last week in New York. Sefolosha suffered a season-ending broken fibula and torn ligaments that will require surgery. Here are excerpts of his interview:
Opening statement: I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to my family and friends, to the Hawks organization and, of course, my teammates. This has been a difficult time for me and my family and we truly appreciate the support we have been receiving from everyone. I am extremely disappointed that I will not be able to join my teammates on the court during the playoffs and apologize to them for any distraction this incident has caused. I will be cheering for them, of course, every step of the way and will be diligent in my rehabilitation. On advice of my counsel, I hope that you can appreciate that I cannot discuss the facts of the case. These questions will be answered by my lawyer in a court of law. I will simply say that I am in great pain, that I have suffered significant injury and those were caused by the police.
Q. There is a video of what appears to be the police striking you with a baton. Is that how your injury occurred?
A. I don’t want to go into details on anything but I think the video speaks for itself.
Q. You filed a complaint against the NYPD (New York Police Department). Are you able to comment on that?
A. No, I cannot.
Q. Is that true?
A. I don’t want to speak.
Q. What can you say about the injury?
A. It is painful. That’s all I can say. I don’t want to talk on the facts or how it happened or anything like this. It’s very painful and I will have surgery in the next few days and know a little bit more on the basketball stuff and when I can come back.
Q. Did you at any point while you were being held ask for medical attention?
A. I don’t want to speak (about it) again. I wish I could speak a little more but on advice of my counsel I can’t speak on that.
Q. Can you understand the concern regarding where and when you were at the time?
A. Yes. I totally understand and I understand the question. I am disappointed that I will miss the playoffs. I hate this feeling that I’m letting my teammates down. At the same time, I can’t speak too much on it. I just hate the bad look it gives on the team.
Q. Have guys around the league been in touch?
A. A lot of guys, actually. I lot of people have been in touch and I appreciate it greatly. A lot of people in the NBA and in the office and teammates that I have played with before.
Q. Did (Commissioner) Adam Silver call you?
Q. What have your teammates said to you?
A. They have been very supportive basically saying however they can help, they are here for me. Again, it’s great to have that support at times like this.
Q. You have mentioned how difficult it has been. What can you tell us what you have learned from what has gone on in the last week.
A. What I’ve learned, maybe I’ve learned legally more than anything else. Other than that, it’s unfortunate the whole situation. For me, it’s great to have the support of the team and the organization and just being able to lean on them.
Q. Is there a specific date of the surgery?
A. In the next few days.
Q. How disappointing is it that you worked to get back (from calf injury) and now can’t play in the playoffs?
A. Very. I’m sad, disappointed and frustrated by the whole situation. Of course, I just don’t want it to be too much of a distraction on the team.
Q. Will you travel with the team and be involved as much as you can?
A. I hope so. Again, I have to wait until the exact timeline on when I can start traveling.
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