MEMPHIS, Tenn. Three people were injured Saturday night before a game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies when a small section of the stands at FedExForum collapsed.
One person was taken away on a stretcher and two others were treated at the scene. Grizzlies spokesman Dustin Krugel said during the game all three were taken to various Memphis hospitals as a precaution. Officials did not have the identities of any of the injured or specific hospitals, but all three were alert and conscious after the accident.
The incident happened about an hour before the 8 p.m. EDT tip-off as some of the Grizzlies were leaving the floor after the pregame shootaround. Fans were standing at the rail of the section leaning over seeking autographs from the players. The section collapsed to the aisle where the players leave the court, sending a handful of people falling about 3-5 feet to the concrete floor.
Steve Zito, senior vice president of arena operations, said officials will study the accident and talk to witnesses about what happened. He said there have been no similar incidents this season at games or other events, and crews check the stands before the building opens.
"This has surprised us," Zito said. "We're going to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again."
The section was roped off and the season ticket holders who normally sit there were relocated.
WIZARDS' BUTLER OUT WITH BRUISED KNEE: Wizards All-Star forward Caron Butler missed Washington's game Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers because of a bruised right knee.
Butler banged knees with Rodney Stuckey in the second quarter Friday night in a loss to the Detroit Pistons. Butler returned in the second half, but was clearly laboring. He finished 1-for-7 from the field and scored only six points.
BUCKS INTRODUCE NEW GM HAMMOND: John Hammond slipped into the suite where Joe Dumars was sitting when the Detroit Pistons' general manager began rattling off ideas for the future.
Hammond stopped the Friday night chat when Dumars slipped up.
"He said, 'I was looking at our team and I think we need this.' I said, 'What do you mean our team?"' recalled Hammond, introduced as the Milwaukee Bucks new GM on Saturday.