Brown was reportedly assaulted by three or more men during an altercation outside of a Miami strip club in the early hours of Monday morning. Sources said Brown attempted to enter the wrong van and exchanged words with at least three people who were responsible for the van. The situation then "escalated into all of those individuals jumping Brown, physically beating him up, hitting him in the head with a bottle and leaving blood everywhere" before he was taken to a hospital.
"If he hadn't been as physically strong and tough, he might not have made it out of the situation [Sunday] night," one source said. "He could have died."
Players and coaches reportedly feared he was in critical condition while doctors were concerned about potential blood clotting overnight because of his head injuries. He reportedly received stitches and underwent tests before eventually being cleared to leave the hospital and return to Houston.
"His face is jacked up," a source said.
Houston released a statement about the assault that provided little information besides noting Brown "suffered facial lacerations but will make a full recovery."
Per Charania and Iko, Rockets teammate Kevin Porter Jr. also was "roughed up a bit by the individuals" after stepping in to protect Brown and help remove him from the situation. Porter was well enough to play in Monday night's game against the Miami Heat.
An NBA spokesperson told Iko and Charania that the league is investigating the situation; in addition to looking into the altercation, the players' trip to the strip club likely violated the league's health and safety protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brown's management at Priority Sports also provided a statement: "Our number one concern is Sterling's health. We will rely on law enforcement to help get to the bottom of this and the facts about what went down."
A police report stated officers spoke to two men—one of them was Brown and the other was unidentified—but they "refused to cooperate," and Brown only said he wanted to be taken to the hospital.
Brown previously agreed to a $750,000 civil settlement with the Milwaukee police department after a complaint of excessive force that took place in January 2018 while he was a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.