Lakers forward Ron Artest stood before the media Tuesday night and faced a barrage of questions seeking an explanation for how he suffered a concussion Friday that has forced him to miss the last three games.
Artest said he was walking into his Beverly Hills home after the Christmas Day game against Cleveland and fell down a flight of stairs.
Artest said his wife, Kimsha, found him asleep outside their home and that he didn’t know who she was. Artest said his wife had to explain to him that the Lakers had played a game Friday at Staples Center.
Artest said the first person he texted was teammate Kobe Bryant. He said he informed Bryant that he couldn’t remember anything and that he was going to the hospital.
Artest went to the UCLA Medical Center emergency room, where he had staples put into the back of his head and received stitches in his elbow, which also was injured in the fall.
“I can’t remember everything,” Artest said at halftime of the Lakers’ game Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors, his first comments since the accident. “It was for Christmas — maybe it was the presents. I can’t remember much in between. . . . My wife said I was asleep for like two or three minutes. Obviously I don’t remember that part. I went to the hospital. It took me about an hour to get my senses back.”
Artest said he still is a little “woozy at times, so it’s definitely not safe to be playing.”
He said he doesn’t have any pain or headaches, but he is dizzy at times.
“I don’t know how bad it could have been,” Artest said. “I’m definitely grateful to be able to be up and talking and even having the possibility of being back pretty soon.”
Artest was asked to explain how he injured his elbow.
“Trying to brace the fall,” he said. “I guess it was trying to brace. I can’t even remember. . . . I just went to the doctor and he said, ‘You need stitches in your elbow.’ And I was like, ‘For what?’ Then they showed me the picture. It was a deep cut.”
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said before the game that Artest probably would work out today, an off day for the team. The hope is that Artest can play Friday night against the Sacramento Kings.
“The big danger obviously is elevated heart rate, blood pressure with this kind of situation,” Jackson said. “So it’s going to be something that we monitor a little bit.”
Artest saw a neurologist for the fourth consecutive day and was said to be making progress.
“He said I’m getting better,” Artest said. “But it’s just testing the reactions. The first day was bad. The morning I woke up, I went to go see a neurologist and I really wasn’t remembering much. But it’s getting better,” he said.
Artest has had a history of controversy wherever he has played and many of his critics said when he signed with the Lakers that he probably would become a distraction.
Artest, his agent and the Lakers are calling his concussion an accident. Artest was asked whether he was worried about public perception.
“I’ll leave that for public opinion,” Artest said. “I don’t want to answer that.”