Basketball

Ford injured as Raptors rout Hawks

Toronto Raptors point guard T.J. Ford was taken off the court on a stretcher with 1:32 remaining in Tuesday's 100-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Toronto Raptors point guard T.J. Ford was taken off the court on a stretcher with 1:32 remaining in Tuesday's 100-88 road win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Ford, who led all scorers with 26 points and eight assists, was whacked in the face by Al Horford as he sped to the basket on a partial breakaway, smacking the back of his head on the floor.

"I'm not a dirty player," Horford said. "When it happened with a minute and a half left, we were still down by eight [92-84].

"He got the steal. I just tried to go and block the shot.

"When he went up, I went up too. He tried to use the rim and I thought he was going to stay onside, so I went up and tried to hit the ball and I hit his head.

"He just made a good move and fooled me. When I saw his head hit twice, that is when I thought it was serious."

Horford was ejected for committing a flagrant foul, but Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell reacted with anger because Ford has a history of neck problems.

"We're just concerned about T.J.," Mitchell said. "There is not much more to say."

"Al mistimed it and hit him in his head," Raptors centre Chris Bosh said. "I don't think he meant to do it on purpose.

"He was making a basketball play. He just got him right on his head."

Ford, who was sidelined the entire 2004-05 NBA season following neck surgery, was conscious as he was strapped to a stretcher and wheeled off the court before a solemn crowd of 13,173 at Philips Arena.

"It turns my stomach because of who it is," Bosh said. "We know about his situation and everything.

"He was conscious. He wasn't trying to move too much.

"I'm sure he was feeling pain in his arms and legs. I just hope he is OK."

'I could see him moving'

Raptors spokesman Jim LaBumbard confirmed that Ford "had feeling in his upper and lower extremities when he was taken off the floor" and would remain overnight in Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital for testing and observation.

"I could see him moving and that was a relief," Bosh said.

Bosh poured in 20 points and pulled down a game-best 13 rebounds for the Raptors (12-10), who lost forward Jason Kapono with a sprained left wrist in the second quarter.

Jose Calderon counted 15 points and seven assists, while Anthony Parker had 12 points.

Andrea Bargnani returned to the lineup, but failed to score on four field-goal attempts.

Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams scored 23 points apiece for the Hawks (10-11).

Josh Childress came off the bench to net 13 points.

Horford, a rookie, had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

With files from the Canadian Press

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