Injury to Thomas Called Retaliation

From Staff and Wire Reports

When the NBA asks Detroit Coach Chuck Daly for his version of the elbowing incident that sent the Pistons’ Isiah Thomas to the hospital and Utah’s Karl Malone out of the game Saturday night, Daly will be ready.

“They ask if it was a flagrant foul,” Daly said. "(Thomas) had 40 stitches, 15 inside and 25 outside. The league office will determine how malicious.”

Malone hit Thomas midway through the first quarter of Utah’s 102-100 victory, sending the point guard sprawling.

“It felt like I’d been shot in the head,” Thomas said. “It was a hard hit. . . . I was a little scared.


” . . . I was a lot scared.”

Thomas drove to the basket with 7:32 left in first quarter when Malone went up hard in his path. The collision left Thomas with blood pouring down his face. Malone was ejected.

Some Piston players said that it was retaliation for Detroit’s 123-115 victory over the Jazz at home last month, when Thomas had 44 points while Utah point guard John Stockton--a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic team--had 20. Thomas was not chosen for the Olympic team.

Said Piston forward Bill Laimbeer: “Even the referees said there should be a major suspension. (Thomas) lit them up for 44 last time. . . . They didn’t want him to embarrass Stockton again.”

Malone said it was an accident.

“I didn’t do it intentionally,” he said as he left the arena. “It’s amazing. (The Pistons) do the intentional . . . like they do and get away with it. But we do something clean--we do something by accident--and they make a big deal like that.”