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Porter arraigned; girlfriend has fractured vertebra

NEW YORK — Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr.’s alleged attack on his girlfriend at a New York City hotel left the woman with a fractured neck vertebra and a cut above her right eye, prosecutors revealed at his arraignment Tuesday.

Porter, 23, pleaded not guilty to felony assault and strangulation charges in connection with the incident Monday at the Millennium Hilton near the United Nations in Manhattan. Prosecutors said he didn’t stop until his girlfriend, former WNBA player Kysre Gondrezick, ran out into the hallway covered in blood.

Porter was not required to enter a plea during his brief court appearance.

Porter, who had been in police custody since his arrest around 6:45 a.m. Monday, was released Tuesday on $75,000 bail. He was also ordered to stay away from Gondrezick.

“This is a serious domestic violence case,” Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Mirah Curzer said in court.

Curzer said Porter has a history of abusing Gondrezick, including an incident in which he rammed his car into hers.

Porter is due back in court in Manhattan on Oct. 16. The Rockets are scheduled to play a preseason game that day in San Antonio, with their regular season tipping off about two weeks later.

A message seeking comment was left with Porter’s lawyer.

According to a criminal complaint, Gondrezick told police that Porter punched her repeatedly in the face with a closed fist, cutting her above the right eye and causing bruising and substantial pain to her face.

Gondrezick said the NBA player also forcefully squeezed her neck with his hands, causing her difficulty breathing, redness and bruising to her neck.

Hospital testing showed that Gondrezick, 26, sustained a fractured vertebra in her neck, the criminal complaint said.

“The allegations here are horrific, no question about it, but I don’t know anything more of course about the actual facts other than reading those allegations,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday in New York. “We have a domestic violence policy that was collectively bargained with the Players Association. They certainly feel as strongly as we do about the issue. Every case though also depends on its unique facts.

“I think when we’re not in season, there’s a little bit more of an opportunity to absorb what’s happening before we act. … One thing I’ve learned over many years of working on these cases is that not to assume anything here and to not just rely on headlines, but to try to truly understand what’s happening here as a combination of what law enforcement has learned and direct interviews. And so we’re still now in the process of gathering information.”

The Rockets on Monday said in a statement that they were in the process of gathering information and had no further comment.

Gondrezick, the fourth pick in the 2021 WNBA draft, played one season for the Indiana Fever and is currently a free agent. She is also an actress and model.

A message was left with Gondrezick’s management company.

Porter has played four seasons in the NBA — a tenure marked by on-court prowess and off-court problems.

Last year, Porter averaged 19.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game, earning a lucrative four-year extension with Houston.

In November 2020, while playing for the Cavaliers, Porter was arrested after police said they found a loaded handgun and marijuana in his car after a single-vehicle crash. Porter claimed he didn’t know the gun was there, and his charges were eventually dismissed.

Porter, a 2019 first-round draft pick from USC, was traded from Cleveland to Houston a few months later after he reportedly blew up at the Cavaliers’ general manager after finding out his locker had been moved to make room for a newly acquired player.

In April 2021, the NBA fined Porter $50,000 for violating the league’s COVID-19 health and safety rules by visiting a Miami strip club. In January 2022, the Rockets suspended Porter for a game after then-coach Stephen Silas said the player had a “spirited debate” and “lost his temper” at halftime.

ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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