Lakers' Jordan Hill charged

Updated: May 1, 2012, 3:49 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

HOUSTON -- Los Angeles Lakers forward Jordan Hill faces a felony assault charge after an incident with his girlfriend in Houston.

Hill is charged with allegedly shoving and choking 28-year-old Darlene Luna, about 1 p.m. on Feb. 29 at his Houston apartment. Luna told police that the two had been dating for about two years. He was charged by Harris County prosecutors in March.

Hill will have to make an appearance in Houston to face the charge -- third-degree felony for assault on a family member by choking -- the Houston district attorney's office said.

The district attorney's office said that Hill faces a sentence of two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. After paperwork is complete, a warrant for his arrest will be issued.

The Lakers have an off day in their first-round playoff series against the Nuggets before hosting Denver Tuesday.

Hill was part of the trade that sent Derek Fisher to Houston March 15. The Rockets had a game the date of the incident but Hill did not dress for that game.

As word of the charge began to spread, two messages were posted on Hill's Twitter account: "Wowwwww," and "Unbelievable!!!!!!!!"

Hill later issued a statement.

"I'm saddened to learn of the accusations that were filed against me today," he said. "At this time I cannot comment further other than to say that my attorneys are working to gather all of the facts and evidence and I plan to cooperate completely with the authorities.

"I'd like to apologize to the Lakers organization and to all of their fans for the untimeliness of these accusations. I promise to keep my focus and attention on the playoffs during this time and to helping my team win another championship."

The Lakers also issued a statement later Monday.

"We are aware of the media reports alleging an incident involving Jordan Hill from two months ago when he was a member of the Houston Rockets," the statement read. "We do not have any details regarding these reports and therefore, as well as due to the personal and legal aspects, it would not be appropriate for us to comment. Any further inquiries regarding this should be directed to Jordan's representative."

Hill participated in Lakers practice Monday after meeting with Lakers coach Mike Brown and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak to discuss the allegations.

"It's not that we were worried about his mental focus, we just told him we're behind him and let the legal process handle it however it needs to be handled," Brown said.

Brown said that, from his understanding, Hill would be available to play in Game 2 and did not anticipate Hill's role as the first big man off the bench in the Lakers' rotation changing moving forward.

Both Hill and Brown said they did not expect Hill to be absent from any games or practices as the case unfolds.

"But again, it's something that's not in my control and if he has to miss, then he has to miss," Brown said.

Hill is in his third year in the league out of Arizona. He has career averages of 5.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game and had 10 points and 10 rebounds in Sunday's Game 1 win over the Denver Nuggets.

Information from ESPNLosAngeles' Dave McMenamin and The Associated Press was used in this report.