Isiah Thomas broke his right hand Tuesday when he punched Bill Laimbeer during a scuffle at a Detroit Piston practice.
Witnesses said Thomas, who broke a rib Oct. 30 when he was elbowed by Laimbeer, became angry when Laimbeer elbowed him again. Thomas threw a punch that struck Laimbeer in the head.
The team said Thomas broke the third metacarpal bone of his hand and will be sidelined for three to eight weeks.
Neither Thomas nor Laimbeer commented on the incident.
Coach Don Chaney said fatigue from a recent trip and frustration from a four-game losing streak probably was a factor.
“Frustration, fatigue, when you have those things combined, then you have a problem,” Chaney told WWJ-AM. “That’s what happened out here on the floor. If you’re going to play aggressive, tempers will flare. You can’t play soft at practice.”
It was the second time in a month there was a scuffle during a Piston practice. On Nov. 4, Alvin Robertson fought with player personnel director Billy McKinney.
Robertson, who apparently became upset when McKinney told him he would be suspended for three games for missing practices and rehabilitation sessions for his sore back, has been suspended indefinitely since that incident.