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Rotnei Clarke taken off on stretcher during first half of Butler-Dayton after neck injury

Jan 12, 2013, 2:53 PM EDT

Star Butler guard Rotnei Clarke was taken off on a stretcher with 8:13 to play in the first half of the Bulldogs’ matchup with Dayton Saturday afternoon.

Clarke was fouled hard by Dayton forward Matt Derenbecker on a drive to the basket, causing him to lose his balance in mid-air. He fell awkwardly and his head speared the base of the backboard support. He was in immediate visible pain and was tended to by team doctors who attempted to keep him from moving as a precaution.

While being attended to, microphones picked up Clarke’s dialogue with those attending to him, insisting that he return to the game, but he was taken off on a stretcher. Doctors were also heard talking about what the injury could be, suggesting perhaps it was a stinger.

Clarke had full movement of his arms and legs when he was taken to the locker room on a stretcher. He gave the crowd a “thumbs up” gesture as he was taken into the tunnel. He was taken to a local hospital.

UPDATE 12 January 2013, 4:58 p.m. ET

According to David Woods of the Indianapolis Star, Clarke has been evaluated and tests show he does not have spinal damage after the fall. Woods cites the Butler trainer in saying that Clarke is being released from the hospital and will travel on the team bus with the Bulldogs.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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