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Posted at 03:32 PM ET, 05/01/2012

Jordan Hill assault charge is newest distraction for Lakers (updated)


Jordan Hill defends against Ty Lawson in Game 1 of the Lakers-Nuggets playoff series Sunday (Mark J. Terrill / AP)
Updated at 3:30 p.m. with Coach Mike Brown saying Hill would play in Game 2

Los Angeles Lakers forward Jordan Hill was charged with felony assault after an incident in which he allegedly shoved and choked his girlfriend in Houston.

The incident involving 28-year-old Darlene Luna, who said she had been dating Hill, 24, for about two years, occurred Feb. 29 and he was charged in March. TMZ first reported the story Monday.

The two, according to court documents, were discussing their future at Hill’s apartment when the dispute began. Luna alleges in the complaint that he hit her in the legs and threw her against a wall before putting her in a choke hold from behind.dispute with the woman on Feb. 29 while they were discussing their future at his apartment in Houston, according to court documents. She returned home to Orlando and called Houston police on March 29, sending them photos of her bruices and copies of her airline tickets to and from Houston.

According to the Houston district attorney, Hill would face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted on the third-degree felony charge for assault on a family member by choking.

“I'm saddened to learn of the accusations that were filed against me today,” Hill, who was part of the March 15 trade that sent Derek Fisher to Houston, said in a statement Monday. “At this time I cannot comment further other than to say that my attorneys are working to gather all of the facts and evidence and I plan to cooperate completely with the authorities.

“I'd like to apologize to the Lakers organization and to all of their fans for the untimeliness of these accusations. I promise to keep my focus and attention on the playoffs during this time and to helping my team win another championship.”

Coach Mike Brown said after the team’s Tuesday morning shootaround that Hill would play in Game 2 of the Lakers’ playoff series against the Denver Nuggets tonight. “I just wanted to give him an opportunity to see what he had and he played well,” Brown said. “He used his length, athleticism and ability to score around the basket and block shots. I just said, I'll keep playing him. If he keeps playing well, I'll keep playing him.”

The Lakers already are without Metta World Peace, who is serving a seven-game suspension for hitting James Harden with an elbow. Although neither Hill nor Brown expects Hill to miss any games or practices, Brown said “it’s something that’s not in my control.”

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By  |  03:32 PM ET, 05/01/2012

 
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