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 NEW YORK (AP) -Houston Rockets guard Rafer Alston was charged Tuesday with slashing a man's neck during a ruckus at a Manhattan nightspot - his second brush with the law this month.
Alston was arraigned on felony assault charges before being released without bail. A judge ordered him to return to court Jan. 3.
His lawyer said Alston was ``absolutely innocent.''
The man who said he was injured told police the incident occurred at about 3 a.m. Monday after he and Alston accidentally bumped each other inside Club Stereo. During an ensuing argument, the man said, Alston slashed his neck.
The 41-year-old went to a hospital to be treated for a minor neck injury, then filed a complaint at a police precinct.
Defense attorney Alberto Ebanks said bouncers and other witnesses told him the man didn't appear to be injured when he left the club and never bothered alerting police officers who were in the area.
The arrest came three weeks after 31-year-old Alston was charged with misdemeanor assault and public intoxication in Houston.
Alston was accused of grabbing a parking attendant's arm, shaking him and spitting on him after his vehicle was towed from a lot. The attendant said Alston parked illegally and didn't pay. Alston told a Houston television station that he didn't do anything to the attendant.
The 6-foot-2 player out of Fresno State joined the NBA during the 1999-2000 season with Milwaukee. He signed with the Rockets in 2004 and averaged 13.3 points per game last season.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said the team learned of Alston's arrest Tuesday morning.
``Obviously, it is troubling that Rafer was again in a situation involving the police,'' Morey said in a statement. ``We take these matters very seriously - the Rockets expect all employees to represent the organization in a first-class manner. Until more facts are gathered from all parties, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.''

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