NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Jersey Nets' Chinese forward Yi Jianlian needed 50 stitches to close an upper lip laceration he suffered in practice, the NBA team said on Sunday.

Yi suffered the injury after he was accidentally elbowed on the mouth by a team mate while playing three on three on Saturday, the Nets said on their website ( He will be examined on December 14 to determine when he can return to game action.

The Chinese Olympian has played in only four games this season, averaging 9.8 points and 7.5 rebounds. He has missed the past 15 games with a sprained right medial collateral ligament (MCL).

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; editing by Pritha Sarkar)