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Friday, April 2, 1999 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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NBA Notebook -- Broken Leg Sidelines Nets Star Williams

AP

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Jayson Williams broke his right leg in a fourth-quarter collision with New Jersey teammate Stephon Marbury and will be sidelined for the rest of the season.

X-rays disclosed that Williams, 31, broke his leg in the collision in the final minute of the Nets' 90-85 victory last night over the Atlanta Hawks. He was admitted to Hackensack Medical Center late last night and was to be evaluated today.

The break occurred around the shin area of Williams' leg. Doctors could opt either to put the leg in a cast or repair the leg with surgery.

Williams, who signed a six-year, $90 million contract before the season, was averaging 8.0 points and 12.1 rebounds, second best in the league. He had 11 points and 10 rebounds before being injured with 50.9 seconds to play.

"It's like a soap opera," forward Kendall Gill said after the Nets won for just the sixth time in 30 games. "It seems like even when everything is going right, something still goes wrong. It's like we are snakebit."

Williams was hurt after slamming his right leg into Marbury's back seconds after Marbury hit a floater in the lane to give New Jersey an 87-83 lead. It was a collision of players going in different directions, with Williams looking to crash the boards from the right wing and Marbury falling backward toward the sidelines.

Both players lay on the court for a couple of minutes and play wasn't stopped until Atlanta's Dikembe Mutombo was fouled at the other end 8 seconds later.

"I just got the wind knocked out of me," said Marbury, who scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half. "I got kneed in the back. He didn't get my head. I think it was his knee. But whatever it was, it did not look good."

"That's the way it's been going all year," Nets guard Kerry Kittles said. "We faced adversity all season. Tonight we played our hearts out and now we lost our emotional leader."

Heat players warm up

MIAMI - Miami Heat forward Jamal Mashburn, out since the opening weekend with a bruised knee, was activated from the injured list before last night's game against Philadelphia.

In addition, guard Voshon Lenard may be not be far behind in returning to the Miami lineup.

Mashburn had missed 26 games since suffering a severely bruised left knee during a Feb. 7 win at New York, the Heat's second game of the season. He was Miami's leading scorer in both games before the injury, scoring 19 points in the opener against Detroit and 21 against the Knicks.

Forward Terry Mills was returned to the injured list with a strength deficit in his left leg, the lingering effect from knee surgery during the offseason. He had been active for just four games.

Lenard, meanwhile, appears close to returning to the lineup after undergoing surgery for a stress fracture in his left leg. He returned to practice Monday and said he thought he could return in a couple of weeks.

"It feels good. The X-rays looked good," Lenard said yesterday after the Heat's pregame shootaround. "It's just a matter of time now."

Notes

-- Indiana's Jalen Rose was fined $5,000 by the NBA and suspended for one game for tripping New York's Patrick Ewing and throwing a forearm that inadvertently broke the nose of referee Dick Bavetta. Ewing was fined $2,500 for what the NBA said was "escalating the altercation with Rose" during the Knicks' 94-93 win Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

-- A federal judge blew the whistle on an $8 million jury award, reducing it to $350,000 for a woman who was passed over as an NBA referee.

A jury last spring awarded Sandra Ortiz-Del Valle $7.85 million, including $7 million in punitive damages, after she rose to No. 2 on the list of those in line to officiate in the NBA, only to be passed over repeatedly.

Yesterday, Judge Sidney H. Stein said it was necessary to reduce the $7 million because it was 58.3 times the amount of compensatory damages, a ratio that differed greatly from awards in similar cases.

-- Portland guard Isaiah Rider is being sued by a fan who claims Rider spit on him during a game in Detroit in 1997. The suit, filed last week in Oakland County Circuit Court, seeks $25,000 for mental distress and humiliation plus court and lawyer fees.

Copyright (c) 1999 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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