NEW YORK (Reuters) - NBA player Chris Copeland of the Indiana Pacers and his wife were stabbed during a dispute outside a New York City nightclub early on Wednesday and hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, according to police and the team.
The Pacers forward, 31, was stabbed in the abdomen and the elbow and is in stable condition, the team said, and media reports said his wife, Katrine Saltara, 28, was also stabbed. Police declined to confirm the identities of the victims but said the woman was slashed in the arm and chest.
Another woman, 23, was also slashed in the abdomen, the New York Police Department said.
A 22-year-old suspect, identified in media reports as Shezoy Bleary, is in custody. Police said charges are pending, but did not identify the suspect.
The fight outside the 1 Oak nightclub in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood was called into police at about 4 a.m., police said.
“They were engaged in a verbal dispute in front of the location,” said Officer Sophia Mason, an NYPD spokeswoman.
“The males engaged in a confrontation, and that’s when the 22-year-old male stabbed the 31-year-old male,” Mason said.
A folding knife was recovered from the suspect, she said. The 23-year-old woman was believed to be the suspect’s girlfriend, police said.
Two Atlanta Hawks players were taken into custody for interfering with the arrest and trying to prevent police from setting up a crime scene.
Police identified them as Pero Antic, 33, and Thabo Sefolosha, 30, both of Atlanta.
“Our thoughts are with Chris and those injured,” said Larry Bird, Pacers president, on Twitter.
The three stabbing victims were taken to local hospitals, police said.
Copeland previously played for the New York Knicks, which were scheduled to play the Pacers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. The Hawks were scheduled to play the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on Wednesday.
Copeland is in his third NBA season, having played several years in Europe after his career at the University of Colorado. This season, Copeland is averaging 6.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.
The NBA and the other U.S. professional sports leagues are cracking down on off-the-field issues ever since former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught on video striking his then-fiancee last year, causing a public uproar.
Charlotte Hornets forward Jeff Taylor was suspended by the NBA for 24 games after pleading guilty in October to misdemeanor domestic violence assault.
(This version of the story adds details such as the elbow injury to Copeland and stable status, and the crackdown on off-field issues)
Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst and Suzannah Gonzales; Additional reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Lisa Lambert and Mohammad Zargham