New York, NY – The NBA suspended Lakers forward Metta World Peace seven games without pay Tuesday for his violent elbow to the head of Thunder guard James Harden.
The ruling came two days after World Peace, while beating his chest after a dunk, leveled Harden with a forceful left elbow to the head and neck area.
Harden suffered a concussion and has yet to be cleared to play.
World Peace's suspension came with a statement from NBA commissioner David Stern, who said Harden's concussion "demonstrates the danger posed by violent acts of this kind, particularly when they are directed at the head area."
"We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations," said Stern.
The suspension will begin with the Lakers' regular-season finale Thursday at Sacramento and continue into the playoffs. It would carry into next season if the Lakers are eliminated.
World Peace, of course, is no stranger to suspensions.
The former Ron Artest once served an 86-game ban for his role in the infamous brawl between Indiana and Detroit at the Palace of Auburn Hills in November 2004. He was playing for the Pacers that night when he went into the stands to attack a fan after he was struck by a beverage while players scrapped on the court.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement that World Peace "has for the most part been a model citizen both on and off the court since joining the Lakers" prior to the 2009-10 season.
"Still," Kupchak said, "his most recent lapse in judgement is not to be condoned or accepted. His actions could have seriously injured another player, and his absence during this suspension will hurt our team as well. While we accept the league's decision, we will be supportive of Metta and try to help him be more professional on the court."
World Peace, who was whistled for a flagrant foul type 2 and ejected from Sunday's game, said afterward that the elbow was unintentional.
"I got real emotional," he said. "It was unfortunate that James got hit. I hope he's OK."