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Jackson: I was merely defending my teammates

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Pacers guard Stephen Jackson says he
was just trying to protect three teammates when he fired a handgun
and was hit by a car during a fight outside an Indianapolis strip
club.

The 28-year-old Jackson faces a pretrial hearing on a felony
charge of criminal recklessness and misdemeanor counts of battery
and disorderly conduct Nov. 1, the same day the Pacers open the
season in Charlotte, N.C.

His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 8 in Marion Superior Court.
The criminal recklessness charge carries a prison term of six
months to three years.

"I'm in a situation now where people thought I acted
recklessly, when I know I didn't," Jackson said Saturday night
after the Pacers' 97-84 loss to the Utah Jazz.

"Over due time the courts will know that," he said. "We'll be
able to see I wasn't trying to hurt anybody. I had no intentions of
hurting anybody. I was just making sure me and my teammates were
safe. I'm the one who got hit by the car."

Police said Jackson fired a gun in the air at least five times
during an Oct. 6 fight outside Club Rio. Jackson originally told
police that he fired the gun in self-defense, but Marion County
Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said Jackson retrieved his gun from his car
and fired it before he was struck and injured by another car.

Jackson, who showed up at Conseco Fieldhouse on Saturday
sporting a shaven head instead of his familiar braids, was booed by
some fans during the game. He came off the bench and finished with
six points in 23 minutes.

Jackson was serving probation after pleading no contest to
misdemeanor assault and battery charges in September 2005 in his
role in a 2004 brawl between Pacers players and Detroit Pistons
fans at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Mich. He is scheduled to appear
at a probation violation hearing at a Rochester Hills district
court on Nov. 13 and could face up to three months in jail.

The court schedule and shadow of jail time could complicate
Indiana's season. But Pacers coach Rick Carlisle seemed relatively
unruffled.

"We'll cross those bridges when we come to them," Carlisle
said. "I've heard some dates thrown around, but I don't know that
there's anything set in stone. I know that a lot of times schedules
can be adjusted based on people's work, but I'm not going to make
any presumptions on that. ... That's light years away."