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Obama cuts lip playing basketball

world Updated: Nov 27, 2010 09:00 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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Politics can get quite rough in Washington, 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 – the other one is US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke – 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 today administered by the White House Medical Unit,” said press secretary Robert Gibbs in a statement.

He was given local anesthesia 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 Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, who issued a statement but did not apologise.

"I learned today the president is both a tough competitor and a good sport,” Decerega said, adding, “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.

Today’s game was at Fort Mcnair, a military base in DC.

Jonathan Smith, a sports fitness instructor at Fort McNair, told ABC News he noticed a few "trickles of blood" on the president's lip as he was leaving. They had been playing for about 90 minutes when the incident occurred, Smith said.