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Grant Hurt Breaking Up Sonics Fight

March 28, 2000

SEATTLE (AP) _ Starting center Horace Grant and reserve Chuck Person of the Seattle SuperSonics were injured while trying to break up a fight between teammates Gary Payton and Vernon Maxwell.

The brawl occurred during practice Sunday when Payton and Maxwell started exchanging barbs. It escalated into a fight, which Grant and Person helped to end by pulling their teammates away from each other.

Grant sat out Monday night’s game against San Antonio with a bruised shoulder, and Person, who already was on the injured list, aggravated his surgically repaired left knee. The Sonics lost to the Spurs 90-82, their fourth straight home defeat.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported today that the scene became so intense in the locker room after practice Sunday that Payton picked up a chair and Maxwell went to find a free weight, presumably to use as a weapon. Both players had to be restrained again and were escorted from the locker room separately.

The Seattle Times reported today that Grant’s shoulder injury was due to a weight that was thrown during the altercation. Grant did not comment on his injury, except to tell the Times, ``I was a victim of circumstance.″

Team president Wally Walker refused to discuss the fight, though the Times reported that a suspension or fine against Maxwell or Payton could be possible if Grant’s injury is serious. Grant was to undergo medical tests today.

``Both were wrong, and I told them that,″ Walker told the Post-Intelligencer. ``They have to work it out between the two of them so it doesn’t affect the team and staff. If they put the onus on the team to settle this, they won’t like what could happen.″

Maxwell, whose locker is next to Payton’s, dressed at a different locker Monday night. On the court, Payton and Maxwell seemed friendly, exchanging high-fives at different points during the game. Neither player would comment on the altercation.

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