- A conviction can yield up to 10 years in prison
- Hill says he does not expect to miss any games
- The charge stems from an incident involving his girlfriend
- Official: The victim has requested a protective order
As the Los Angeles Lakers take to the court Tuesday for Game 2 of the NBA playoffs, a key question is whether the team's forward Jordan Hill will square off against the Denver Nuggets.
Authorities in Texas have charged Hill, 24, with assaulting a family member, a felony that could yield up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 if he is convicted.
Donna Hawkins, the assistant district attorney in Harris County, said Monday an arrest warrant for Hill will be issued once the magistrate has signed the paperwork -- unless the player turns himself in first.
After a lengthy training session Monday, Hill issued a statement apologizing to fans "for the untimeliness of these accusations."
Hill, who scored 10 points and 10 rebounds in the Lakers' 103-88 win over the Nuggets on Sunday, told reporters he did not expect to miss any games.
"I'll be here," he said.
The charge stems from an incident on February 29 when Hill allegedly choked his girlfriend of two years at his home in Houston after the two got into an argument about their "future," authorities said.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Hill became angry when the 28-year-old girlfriend tossed his two cell phones to the floor.
He struck her legs with his fist, pulled her off the couch, dragged her to where the phones were and threw her against a wall, the affidavit said.
He demanded she pick up his phones, and put her into a chokehold, the affidavit said.
"She stated that she pulled at the Defendant's forearm to stop the suffocation. Complainant stated she was unable to breathe and gasping for air," it said.
Hawkins said the victim has requested a protective order.
The charge of assaulting a family member applies even when the person is someone the defendant is dating, she said.
In his statement, Hill said his lawyers were gathering facts and that he planned to cooperate with authorities.
"I'm saddened to learn of the accusations that were filed against me today," Hill said.
"I promise to keep my focus and attention on the playoffs during this time and to helping my team with another championship," he added.
Hill was traded to the Lakers on March 15, and made seven regular-season appearances.
At the time of the incident, he was a member of the Houston Rockets.
Last week, another Laker forward, Metta World Peace, was suspended for seven games without pay over an elbow blow he delivered to the head of Oklahoma City Thunder's James Harden.