Facebook Twitter

Marion injury not Starks’ fault

Jazz guard was just blocking out when accident happened

SHARE Marion injury not Starks’ fault

PHOENIX — Except for a smattering of Phoenix fans, no one was about to blame Jazz guard John Starks for a scary Sunday incident that injured Suns forward Shawn Marion — seriously, though not nearly as bad as it could have been.

Starks and Marion were battling for the final-minute rebound of a John Stockton miss when Marion fell hard to the America West Arena floor, landing on his back and hitting his head.

Marion was out cold for more than a minute, then drifted in and out of consciousness before medical personnel removed him from the court in a neck brace and on a back board. He was diagnosed with a grade 3 concussion, the most-serious among three degrees of severity. Marion also sprained his right wrist, but apparently sustained no other serious injuries.

No one involved in the game pointed fingers at Starks, who was booed for getting underneath Marion before he went down.

"It wasn't intentional," Suns guard Jason Kidd said. "Accidents do happen."

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said Starks was simply trying to block a hard-charging Marion off the boards before he crashed to the floor.

"That's just a terrible thing to have happen to any player," Sloan said. "John feels badly about it, but I never thought there was any intent in it, whatsoever, obviously.

"If you know Marion," Sloan added, "he's a very lively guy, and you've got to try to block him off, which is difficult to do."

Starks actually reached down to try to help Marion break his fall, and later held his arm as several Suns gathered around their unconsciousness teammate.

"I was backing up to block him out, and got up underneath his leg," Starks said. "I tried to catch him, but couldn't catch him, and he just came down hard."

OW: Jazz forward Bryon Russell had to leave the floor in the second quarter after dislocating the index finger on his left hand.

The dislocation was severe enough that Russell's finger had to be numbed before a doctor could pop it back into place.

Russell returned for the second half, however, and scored four of his six points in the third quarter. He is expected to be available for the Jazz's game against Atlanta tonight.

MISC.: A second-quarter technical on Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, called from across the floor by ref Joe Crawford, was Sloan's first technical since Christmas . . . Jazz forward Danny Manning, who played just 11 minutes, had fingers on his left hand taped — the result of a hyperextension sustained in Utah's win at Seattle on Friday night . . . Jazz backup center Greg Ostertag played 14 minutes despite still being bothered by muscle tightness in his back . . . Phoenix snapped its five-game losing streak to the Jazz. Utah also had its seven-game road winning streak snapped.

E-MAIL: tbuckley@desnews.com