New York Knicks Coach Hubie Brown says he can't understand why rookie center Patrick Ewing was fined $1,500 for fighting Indiana's Steve Stipanovich in a National Basketball Association exhibition game.

"I'm stunned, completely stunned," Brown said after Ewing was fined $1,250 for instigating the Saturday fight and an automatic $250 for being ejected. "How can anyone say Patrick instigated the fight is beyond me. He was jumped from behind, thrown to the floor and injured, and he was fined more than the guy who did that to him. Our management must take a strong stand on this."

Stipanovich was fined a total of $1,000 -- $750 for escalating the incident and $250 for automatic ejection.

Ewing was at practice yesterday in East Orange, N.J., but refused to comment other than to say he found it hard to believe Stipanovich's fine was less than his.

The 7-footer from Georgetown suffered a hyperextended left elbow in the scuffle and missed Sunday's final preseason game, but he is expected to be ready for Saturday's nationally televised, regular season opener against Philadelphia . . .

San Antonio Spurs guard George Gervin faces a possible suspension for failing to show up for practice Tuesday, owner Angelo Drossos said. Gervin also missed an informal team workout Tuesday night. It was the second time during the preseason the 13-year veteran had missed practice.

Spurs Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons said, "This isn't the first time Ice has missed practice and I doubt it will be the last."