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(Reuters) - Three American basketball players, who play for leading Argentine team Libertad, suffered serious injuries when attacked by about 30 people in a bar with the club manager saying they could have been killed.
Tony Washam had a leg bone broken, Argentine-born Phillip McHopson his jaw fractured and Lee Roberts suffered rib injuries, Argentine media reported on Saturday.
"We don't understand how such things can happen, in fact they didn't kill them by chance but they beat them up badly, they have bruises everywhere, it could have been fatal," club manager Andres Pelussi said of the incident on Thursday night.
"Tony Washam needs surgery on his fractured fibula," Pelussi told the Argentine basketball website Pick and Roll (www.pickandroll.com.ar).
The fighting started when Roberts went to the aid of his girlfriend who was being accosted by some men in a bar in the city of Rafaela, the manager said.
Libertad condemned the "savage beating" of the three players in a statement, saying the incident "prejudices the rest of the team."
Reporting by Rex Gowar; editing by Amlan Chakraborty