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Players, Fans Freed on Bond in Brawl

January 26, 2005|From Associated Press

Five Indiana Pacer players and three fans charged in one of the most violent melees in NBA history appeared in court Tuesday -- each at a separate hearing -- and were released on bond.

The players, charged with misdemeanor assault and battery in the brawl with Detroit fans Nov. 19 at The Palace of Auburn Hills, appeared for about three minutes each before District Judge Lisa Asadoorian in Rochester Hills, Mich.

Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Anthony Johnson, David Harrison and Jermaine O'Neal were told they must attend the next hearing in the case, scheduled for April. Three fans charged with misdemeanor assault and battery -- John Ackerman, William Paulson and John Green -- also appeared and were released on bond.

Detroit Piston center Ben Wallace's brother, David, also charged, was represented by his attorney. Bryant Jackson, a fan charged with felony assault for allegedly tossing a chair, was ordered to stand trial.

Meanwhile, Jackson, the Pacer swingman, will play his first game tonight in Boston after serving a 30-game suspension for his role in the brawl.

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Denver Nugget General Manager Kiki Vandeweghe acknowledged meeting with George Karl but said he has not been offered the vacant head-coaching job. Jeff Bzdelik was fired Dec. 28 and replaced in the interim by Michael Cooper. Karl last coached the Milwaukee Bucks in 2002-2003.

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Houston Rocket guard Tracy McGrady rejoined the team and is expected to play tonight at New Orleans after missing Monday's game against Orlando because of a family emergency.

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