Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer entered Tuesday night’s preseason game with a cast on his right hand, a covering intended to protect the paw after recent surgery to repair a broken finger. So when a loose ball came bouncing his way late in the second quarter of Atlanta’s matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans, the basketball lifer raised his left hand to stop it and send it away.
Unfortunately, Pelicans guard Langston Galloway is a lot bigger than a ball, and a lot harder to steer aside.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Galloway barrelled into the Hawks’ 47-year-old coach, sending him crashing into the row of seats behind the Atlanta bench and down to the floor. A clearly shaken Budenholzer needed to be helped up and escorted to the locker room; he would not return to the game, as assistant coach Darvin Ham took over coaching duties for the duration of the Hawks’ 96-89 win.
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Adding insult to injury: the Hawks received a delay of game penalty on the play, thanks to Budenholzer’s defensive deflection of the ball on the way out of bounds prior to getting tackled by the hustling Galloway.
“Man, Bud is having a tough week,” Hawks guard Kyle Korver said after the game, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I felt bad for him. He saw him coming and then he got a delay of game. Oh, man. Sorry Bud.”
Well, we can thank heaven for small mercies: while Budenholzer didn’t return, he did stay in the arena for the rest of the game, and he didn’t further injure his ailing hand, so at least there’s that.
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“Coach Bud is doing great,” Ham told reporters after the game. “He took a nasty, nasty spill but all in all he’s fine. … The ribs got a little touched up but overall he’s doing well.”
I mean, as well as you can be after getting trucked by a speeding combo guard without the ability to brace yourself, I guess. Always keep your head on a swivel out there, kids.