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Friday, March 19, 2004
NBA suspends forward for hitting Anderson news services

NEW YORK -- The Indiana Pacers will be without starting forward Ron Artest when they host the Sacramento Kings Friday night.

The NBA suspended Artest for one game without pay for elbowing Portland's Derek Anderson in the face during Wednesday night's 80-71 win at Conseco Fieldhouse. The incident occurred with 8:18 remaining in the third quarter.

Artest, who is averaging 17.9 points and 5.2 rebounds in 60 games, will also receive a flagrant foul penalty as a result of his actions. No foul was called at the time of the play.

Artest, who led the NBA in flagrant fouls last season, had been expected to play Friday despite missing practice for personal reasons on Thursday. The absence was excused, as Artest said it was for a doctor's appointment among other things.

Artest has been playing with a heavy wrap on his left, non-shooting thumb after having surgery to repair torn ligaments Feb. 19.

Regarded as one of the league's premier defensive players, Artest would have been matched up against Peja Stojakovic, who is perhaps the NBA's best shooter, on Friday.

The Pacers own the best record in the NBA at 50-17. The Kings lead the Western Conference with a 49-19 mark.

Information from SportsTicker and The Associated Press was used in this report.