(Reuters) - Ellie Day, wife of Australian world number two golfer Jason Day, was battered and bruised but spent Friday defending her husband and LeBron James as she recovers from a heavy collision with the NBA great.
Ellie suffered concussion symptoms and bumps and bruises after James accidentally crashed into her while diving for a loose ball during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ win over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.
After being stretchered away from her courtside seat in a neck brace and admitted to hospital before being released on Friday, she received an outpouring of support and concern.
“I am okay!! I am incredibly sore and exhausted. Being tackled by that large man I would compare to a minor car accident. My head and neck hit pretty hard so it was really scary. My whole body feels like it was hit by a truck,” Ellie tweeted on Friday.
But there were also factions blaming James and her husband Jason, who was sitting next to her, for not doing more to protect her, and Ellie went on the offensive defending them.
“It was so fast. I didn’t remember until 2 am seeing the ball come toward me. It was a blur,” she said.
“To the crazies that think Jason should have protected me - if he had had time to react, so would have I. Also, I would not have liked both dudes landing on me. LeBron is huge and had such momentum he could not have stopped!!
“Third, people are saying it’s a money grab or some crap which is obviously absurd. Much like attending a golf event and risking getting hit with a ball, sitting court side you risk getting run into.”
Just five weeks removed from giving birth to the couple’s second child, daughter Lucy, Day was mainly thankful her children were not at the game. “I am truly touched by the insane outpouring of support and those of you covering me in prayer,” she said.
“It could have been so much worse. I am thankful for so many things. One, that I didn’t have Lucy on my chest in her carrier, and that I wasn’t still pregnant.
“Also that Dash (their three-year-old son) wasn’t with us.”
After the game, four-time NBA MVP James apologized via twitter and privately.
“Ellie Day I hope you’re doing okay! My apologies! Hope u guys come back to another game soon. Love LJ!,” he tweeted.
The Days live just outside Columbus, Ohio and the PGA Championship winner has attended Cavaliers games in the past.
Cavs head coach David Blatt said after the game that James “made an honest attempt” at the basketball, suggesting the fault lay with the court-level seats. “It’s always concerned me, the sideline seats,” he said.
“When you’re talking about players of this speed and physicality and effort level, it’s not a simple thing.”
Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Larry Fine