A man allegedly assaulted by NZ Breakers player Corey Webster when a fight broke out at a bar on Auckland's North Shore says he suffered a bruised rib and split lip during the encounter.
Tamehana Maru told Fairfax he was at The Takapuna Bar with a friend on Tuesday night when the fight broke out. He didn't realise Webster was a professional sports player.
"Eventually just one of the glasses went flying across from where they were sitting and smashed on the wall and so I went over to them and asked them 'what's the problem', you know, and they just beat me up," he told Fairfax.
Maru claimed the bar manager was also hit, and his friend, who tried to intervene, was chased down the road and "got a hiding".
Maru said he suffered a split lip and a bruised rib and his friend had grazes on his arm and stomach. Maru has not been charged, Fairfax reported.
Webster, who was celebrating his 28th birthday on the night, has been charged with assault and is due to appear in North Shore District Court on Monday.
Webster has been suspended from tonight's encounter with llawarra at the North Shore Events Centre, a blow to a Breakers team seeking revenge after a 31-point hiding against the Hawks a fortnight ago.
He will be welcomed back to the basketball court on Sunday in Melbourne.
"Corey is basically saying he had no involvement," said Breakers general manager Dillon Boucher.
"He's advised us that he hasn't assaulted anybody so, right now, we support him 100 per cent, and he'll defend this vigorously in court."
The Breakers were unhappy with Webster being out late the night before practice.
Police were called to The Takapuna Bar at 12.30am.
"We found out there was a problem - we didn't find out the extent of the problem - from Corey," Boucher said. "Corey didn't attend training on Wednesday morning and we knew there was an issue, but the details of what we were told probably weren't as clear as we would have liked.
"He just said there were personal reasons why he wasn't there - he didn't delve too much into it and we didn't dig too much deeper. We subsequently found out later on what had happened and were disappointed not to have known all the facts."
Boucher, coach Paul Henare and captains Mika Vukona and Tom Abercrombie fronted media yesterday.
Webster had earlier addressed the team and apologised for his actions and Vukona felt there would be no issue integrating the shooting guard back into the squad on Sunday.
"I think you'll see a different Corey come out," Vukona said. "Maybe it's lit a fire under his arse a little bit, just to straighten everything out. I think he'll definitely be more focused."
Webster has before found unwanted off-court reasons to refocus on the game. In 2011 he was cut by the Breakers after receiving a 12-month suspension for a second drug offence, but Boucher insisted that troubled past played no role in the club's current thinking.
"There's no hiding Corey's past but we feel like Corey's grown a lot," Boucher said. "Corey's a fantastic player on the team but he's also an integral part of our family, and taking the past into account probably wasn't fair."
And although the Breakers may yet have another decision to make, pending the outcome of Webster's court case, Boucher was adopting a wait-and-see approach in regard to any further discipline.
"We're not willing to make any big statements now," he said. "We're focused on his breach of his values and what we stand for, and that's what we'll continue to stand by until the court has made its decision."