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Basketball gives Obama bloodied lip, 12 stitches

world Updated: Nov 28, 2010 00:16 IST
Yashwant Raj

Politics can get quite rough here, but it was a basketball game that gave US President Barack Obama a bloody lip on Friday morning requiring 12 stitches. Obama is a keen recreational basketball player and had a game with friends and relatives.

In the fifth game, the president was playing defense when a player from the rival team turned to shoot, elbowing the president in his mouth.

“The President received 12 stitches administered by the White House Medical Unit,” said a press secretary Robert Gibbs in a statement.

He was given local anaesthesia and the team used a filament smaller than usual, which increases the number of stitches but leaves a smaller scar.

The White House did not name the man responsible for the cut till later. He is Rey Decerega, director of programs for the Congres-sional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Decerega issued a statement but did not apologise.

“I learned today the president is both a tough competitor and a good sport,” Decerega said. “I enjoyed playing basketball with him this morning. I’m sure he’ll be back out on the court again soon.”

Others on the court were Obama’s education secretary Arne Duncan, aide and basketball player Reggie Love, and the president’s nephew Avery Robinson.

Obama is an avid basketball player and played regularly during the presidential campaign and had a basketball court installed on the South Lawn of the White House.

Friday’s game was held at Fort McNair, a military base in DC.