Chris Copeland remains in ICU, apologizes for being out late

Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland, who is in stable condition in a New York hospital after undergoing surgery Thursday following a Wednesday morning stabbing incident, issued a statement thanking supporters and apologizing for being out late.

"I just want to thank everyone for their well wishes and prayers. I'm overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. I look forward to coming back stronger than ever. Thank you," he said in a statement given to ESPN's Josina Anderson.

Copeland suffered knife wounds to his left elbow and abdomen, and a source told Anderson the knife blade touched his diaphragm and fractured a rib in the altercation. In addition, a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN's Chris Broussard that Copeland fractured his elbow.

The man who attacked Copeland was arrested, and two members of the Hawks, Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha, were also charged for trying to prevent police from setting up a crime scene.

The Pacers also issued a statement later Thursday on behalf of Copeland, in which he said he wanted to "apologize to everyone, particularly the NBA and the Pacers for my bad choice at being out at that time."

He is expected to remain in intensive care for two or three more days, the source told Anderson. Doctors wanted to clear the wound on Copeland's elbow because they thought it could be susceptible to infection. He also suffered lacerations to his left hand.

A 28-year-old woman, Katrine Saltara, was also stabbed, police said. Saltara, who lives in New York, and Copeland had been engaged.

The suspect, Shezoy Bleary, 22, was charged with assault Thursday.

A second woman, who was believed to be with the attacker, also was slashed in the abdomen during the incident. She was hospitalized and in stable condition, according to the New York Daily News.

Antic and Sefolosha were arrested on charges of obstructing the crime scene, after police said they blocked officers from trying to start their investigation. The players were in town to play the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on Wednesday night and had arrived late Tuesday after playing a night game in Atlanta.

A source said the Hawks players were not in Copeland's party at the 1Oak nightclub. Antic and Sefolosha were released without bail after a brief court appearance in which they were charged with obstructing governmental authority and disorderly conduct. Their attorney, Alex Spiro, said they did not commit any crime.

"They should not have been arrested. We fully expect the case to be dismissed," he said.

The Hawks released a statement from Antic and Sefolosha:

"As members of the Atlanta Hawks, we hold ourselves to a high standard and take our roles as professionals very seriously. We will contest these charges and look forward to communicating the facts of the situation at the appropriate time. We apologize to our respective families, teammates, and the Hawks organization for any negative attention this incident has brought upon them. We are unable to provide further comment as this is an ongoing legal matter."

The violence broke out just before 4 a.m. Wednesday outside 1Oak Club, a trendy Chelsea spot where celebs such as Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg mingle with Manhattan partygoers.

Police said Copeland and Saltara were arguing on the street as the attacker eavesdropped and started to interfere. The dispute escalated until the suspect pulled out a knife and started slashing, police said. Copeland's driver grabbed the suspect and held him until officers arrived.

However, a source disputed the police account, saying Copeland and Saltara were having a conversation outside the club when they were approached by a stranger. According to the source, Copeland told the person he had to go, and the person took it the wrong way, then pulled out his knife and stabbed the Pacers forward in the stomach. Saltara then jumped on the attacker's back and tried to put him in a chokehold, but she got slashed.

In a statement, the club disputed the police account. It said the altercation stemmed from a dispute at a public housing project about two blocks away from the nightspot.

"The incident occurred beyond the view of our security. Once alerted, the venue provided all assistance possible," the statement read.

The club did not say how Copeland got back to the front of the club on West 17th Street, where the street was splattered with blood from the altercation.

ESPN's Josina Anderson, Chris Broussard, Ian Begley and Ohm Youngmisuk and The Associated Press contributed to this report.