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Kidd Takes Leave From Suns

As he held hands with wife Joumana, Jason Kidd said Saturday that he will not accompany the Phoenix Suns on their upcoming six-game road trip.

Instead, he said, he will concentrate on mending and strengthening his relationship with her.

Kidd and his wife appeared with their 2-year-old son, T.J., to talk to reporters in the players' family lounge at America West Arena less than 48 hours after he was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge accusing him of striking his wife.

"Right now, basketball is secondary and my wife and my family, we've made an agreement that I'll return to play basketball," Kidd said, "but right now is not the time to play basketball."

Just an hour or so earlier, Suns coach Scott Skiles said Kidd would make the trip but didn't know when or if the Phoenix star would play. The team left Saturday afternoon for Salt Lake City, where the Suns play Utah on Sunday.

Joumana Kidd said Thursday night's incident might end up helping her family.

"Jason and I have had turbulence in our relationship," she said. "What happened the other night was good in a sense because it brought us a lot closer together. And we're going to support each other through this and get through this."

Kidd, who is to be arraigned Wednesday, echoed her sentiments.

"The big thing is I love my wife and the things that I've been telling her of late is that we're going to be closer and stronger when this is all over with," he said.

The couple asked that the media give them privacy.

"We're just like normal people and we have normal lives, normal issues," Joumana Kidd said. "I thank the media for having so much concern and curiosity, but we do need a little bit of privacy to get this behind us. So no more helicopters and vans, and I would appreciate it so we can get past this."

The couple did not take any questions.

Kidd was arrested Thursday evening after his wife called police in Paradise Valley, an affluent suburb where they live. Police said he admitted that he hit his wife.

She told police that Kidd had spit a french fry into her face, then hit her in the mouth.

Police said she had a swollen lip and was bleeding in her mouth when they arrived.

In the 911 call, Joumana Kidd told police "there's a bad history here," indicating this was not the first such incident.

She said the couple had been arguing throughout the day, and that she was going to the gym and asked her husband to feed and take care of their son. Kidd grabbed a french fry from the child's plate and put it in his mouth. She told him not to eat the boy's food, and he spit the fry in her face, according to the police report.

She also accused him okicking in her bedroom door when she locked herself inside.

Joumana Kidd is perhaps the most prominent wife of an athlete in Phoenix. She appears regularly on local television, and Kidd has credited her with settling him down after turbulent early years in his NBA career in Dallas.

"The Suns have been very supportive in letting us make all the decisions," Joumana Kidd said. "Like I said, I can't explain how much I love my husband and my family and that we're going to be OK."

Kidd, a member of the U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal in Sydney, gave no indication of when he would return to the Suns.

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