On a list of the most horrifying things that could happen to someone on a basketball court, what happened to Akil Mitchell of the Australian National Basketball League’s New Zealand Breakers would have to be at the top.
Mitchell’s eye was poked out of its socket as he fought for a rebound in a game against Cairns Thursday night, and video of the incident is of the turn and run out of the room variety.
The injury left teammates shaken and the game was stopped for about 15 minutes before Mitchell was taken off the court by teammates and medical personnel with a towel over his head.
It’s hard to imagine that something this severe could end well, but Mitchell, 24, who played college basketball at the University of Virginia from 2010-14, is expected to make a full recovery after he was taken to Auckland Hospital and diagnosed with minimal damage to his eye.
He was released soon after and sent out a tweet updating his status.
Breakers’ general manager Dillon Boucher said the injury was not as serious as was initially thought.
“The early reports are very positive that the injury is not as serious as first feared,” he told reporters. “Akil’s immediate recovery has been such that he is being released to return home, but will undergo further medical tests tomorrow. This is obviously the best possible news after what was a frightening situation.”
Mitchell’s injury took the air our of the arena and the Breakers never recovered, losing the game to Cairns 94-81. But at least it looks like he’ll be back with his teammates and ballin’ in no time.