Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Updated: December 2, 8:10 PM ET
Kings sue companies over player injury
SAN FRANCISCO -- The NBA's Sacramento Kings are suing three companies in federal court over an exercise ball they say burst and injured one of their players.
Roger Dreyer, a lawyer representing the team, said Wednesday swingman Francisco Garcia broke his right wrist in October 2009 after the ball -- known as the Gymnic "Burst Resistant" Plus Stability Ball -- actually did burst while Garcia was laying on it lifting weights.
The lawsuit seeks $4 million from Italy-based manufacturer Ledraplastic, ball distributor M-F Athletic Company and Ball Dynamics International. That's how much the team says it paid Garcia during games he missed because of the injury.
Calls made to Ball Dynamics and M-F Athletic were not immediately returned Wednesday.
Dreyer said a laboratory examined the broken ball and determined it was not abused before it exploded.
"It was advertised to be burst-resistant, but obviously it was not," Dreyer told The Associated Press. "We will be able to prove that, for a very small expense, the ball could've been made more thicker and provided the burst-resistant capacity as advertised."
Garcia missed 57 games during the 2009-10 season, shortly after the Kings signed the guard-forward to a five-year contract extension worth nearly $30 million.
Dreyer said the Gymnic "Burst Resistant" Plus Stability Ball has since been banned from the Kings' training room. He said the Kings notified strength and conditioning coaches throughout the NBA, who have also stopped using the ball for bench press exercises.
"The main concern I have is to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else," Kings co-owner Joe Maloof said in a release Wednesday. "We want to ensure other teams -- from high school players to other professional sports franchises -- understand these balls are dangerous."
Dreyer said the ball's distributors now have a disclaimer that warns people not to use weights with the ball.
"The manufacturers have a duty to let consumers know, but they never provided that to the Kings," Dreyer said.