HOUSTON, JAN. 3 -- Houston Rockets center Akeem Olajuwon was hospitalized after a third-quarter collision left him unconscious for a brief time during tonight's game against the Chicago Bulls. The Rockets went on to win, 114-92.
Rockets trainer Ray Melchiorre said Olajuwon was struck on the side of the face and knocked unconscious when hit by an inadvertent elbow by Bulls center Bill Cartwright.
He was carried to the locker room on a stretcher. The Rockets issued a statement, in which team doctor Frank Lanza said Olajuwon will be hospitalized overnight for observation, but that X-rays were negative and his injuries appeared to be limited to a contusion of the right cheek, a swollen right eye and a bloody nose. The statement said there was no vision impairment and no apparent fracture.
"I'm okay," Olajuwon said later, showing off a swollen right eye.
Olajuwon had 20 points and 10 rebounds when he crumpled to the floor with the Rockets leading 85-67 with 3:32 left in third period.
Otis Thorpe totaled 23 points and 11 rebounds as Houston handed Chicago its most lopsided loss of the season and ended the Bulls' five-game winning streak.
Thorpe, who had four points at the half, took charge of the aroused Rockets after Olajuwon's injury, and they pulled away.
"It was scary when it happened, but I took it on myself to finish the game," Thorpe said.
" . . . Once he went out, we just wanted to do all we could to control the game. Having a lead at the time helped."
Michael Jordan led the Bulls with 32 points, including 12 of their 18 in the third quarter.