Flagrant foul fells Ford

STEVE SIMMONS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

ATLANTA -- Chris Bosh looked deep into T.J. Ford's eyes and all he saw was fear.

It was all anyone saw.

On what began as his single greatest performance as a Raptor, Ford, 24, crashed hard to the court last night, his health, his neck and his future in question, with the emerging star leaving the stunned silence at Philips Arena on a stretcher.

The Raptors would release no medical information other than that Ford was waiting for assessment at Piedmont Hospital, but the Raptors point guard did have feeling in his upper and lower extremities. He was underdoing a series of tests here late last night and did not return home with the rest of the team.

More information on his condition will be made available today.

Ford, victim of an unintentionally flagrant foul by Atlanta's Al Horford, crashed the back of his head and neck to the court, sending coach Sam Mitchell sprinting wildly on to the court with 1:32 left in the 100-88 victory over the Hawks last night.

"It's frightening," said Bosh, talking of his best friend and teammate.

"I had a pretty good view of it. He got hit hard and he hit his head pretty hard going down ... Our prayers are with him.

"We all know the on-going situation with T.J. That's what makes it so frightening. I just hope he's okay."

The collision, by itself, was troubling enough.

The collision, knowing the tenderness of Ford's background, knowing he missed the entire 2004-05 season because of a similar fall, had the majority of Raptors players and management in silent shock on the court and whispered shock afterward.

"We're just concerned about T.J.," said a visibly shaken Mitchell in the few seconds that were his post-game news conference.

"Not much more to say."

"We all know the situation," said Bosh. "Because of who he is, it's frightening. I didn't say anything to him.

"I looked down, he was too scared. I just gave him his space. You don't feel like talking when something like that happens."

Bosh, who scored 20 points himself last night, did add that Ford "was conscious" after the fall.

Raptor Anthony Parker had a clear view of the accident and was the first to talk to Ford, whose eyes looked glazed as he lay on the court.

"I just said: 'Lay back, don't move.' Because it looked like he was on his side panicking a little bit, breathing hard.

"It looked like, you know, when someone gets initially knocked out, they go stiff a little bit.

"Knowing his past, it's very scary. Our thoughts are with T.J. the person, not T.J. the basketball player.

"That's what's important. Hopefully he can make a full recovery."

Before the flagrant foul, Ford was the single dominant figure in the game.

He scored 26 points in just over 29 minutes, rendered his Hawks counterpart, Anthony Johnson, irrelevant and controlled the tempo of the victory last night. The point guard combination of Ford and Jose Calderon outscored the Hawks' duo 41-8.

A late steal by Ford led to the attempt at a reverse layup which resulted in Horford's flagrant foul.

Horford's arm came across the head of Ford, pulling him backwards with force, causing the crash.

"I don't think it was intentional," said Parker.

"You could see it in (Horford's) face. You think: 'Why, why, why ... a minute and a half left in the game ... Why?'

"It makes you not want to play anymore at that point in the game."

When the Raptors returned to the dressing room after the victory, they prayed together for their fallen teammate.

Marc Eversley, the team's director of basketball operations, and Rory Mullin, the team's assistant trainer, remained in Atlanta with Ford.

"He's going to be okay," said Calderon as if he was trying to convince himself.

"He's going to be okay."


Videos

Photos