Wellington - New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder was only punched once and his injuries were not as serious as reported, a lawyer for one of the two men charged with his assault told a court on Thursday.
Jonathan Eaton said Ryder was sharing a friendly drink with the accused before a dispute broke out, and the cricketer was injured as he fell to the ground "after being punched once".
Police have said Ryder was rushed to hospital in a critical condition after the assault outside a bar in the South Island city of Christchurch a week ago, and that he was put into an induced coma suffering from a fractured skull and internal injuries.
But Eaton said witness accounts that Ryder had been punched and kicked were "wildly inaccurate" and he had not in fact suffered a fractured skull.
The two men, a 37-year-old and his 20-year-old nephew, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in the Christchurch District Court charged with assault and were bailed to reappear in two weeks.
Eaton told the court the men had been at a family dinner when the chance meeting with Ryder occurred. He said the meeting started in a "highly convivial" manner with drinks being shared but a dispute followed.
When Ryder was interviewed by police this week he said he had no recollection of the incident.