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Isles' Witt hit by SUV, will play tonight

UNIONDALE, NY - DECEMBER 03: Brendan Witt #32

UNIONDALE, NY - DECEMBER 03: Brendan Witt #32 of the New York Islanders argues a penalty call in his game against the Boston Bruins on December 3, 2007 at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Bruins defeated the Islanders 3-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Credit: GETTY IMAGES/Bruce Bennett

PHILADELPHIA -- Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt was hit by an SUV Tuesday morning while crossing the street but sustained no serious injuries and expects to play Tuesday night.

Witt was struck while crossing Arch Street in downtown Philadelphia en route to a local Starbucks when a gold Yukon SUV made an illegal left turn and struck the veteran defenseman.

Witt said he braced himself for impact and attempted to jump on the hood, which he slid across before being thrown onto the ground from the force of the collision.

Several concerned onlookers making their morning commute gathered around Witt to see if he was OK.

Witt, known around the league for his grit and toughness, affirmed his reputation Tuesday when he essentially dusted himself off, hurled a few obscenities at the driver and told everyone he was fine.

"I'm OK," Witt said he told the crowd. "I've got to go play some hockey. I'm a hockey player. I'm OK. No big deal."

One man who witnessed the chain of events from Starbucks couldn’t believe he saw the 34-year-old Humboldt, Saskatchewan, native walk away from the incident virtually unscathed.

"Boy, that guy is tough," he said. "It was like seeing Clint Eastwood, but in hockey."

The onlooker said he originally thought what he witnessed was a scene being filmed for a movie.

“I really thought a Hollywood movie was being made. I was looking around for cameras,” the man said. “I can’t believe how tough this guy is. It’s insanity.”

Ironically, two members of the medical staff had asked Witt if he wanted a ride to the Wachovia Center minutes before he was struck, but he declined so he could make a coffee run instead.

Witt, who opted not to phone police or seek additional medical care, said he felt totally fine after the accident, besides some soreness on the left side of his body.

"I just got lucky," Witt said. " Fortunately, nothing bad happened. I'm just a little sore."

Witt, who described the morning as “pretty crazy," participated in the team’s morning skate at Wachovia Center and expects to be in the lineup Tuesday night.

“Unbelievable,” said Witt’s teammate and fellow defenseman Jack Hillen. “I’ve never heard anything like that. That just goes to show you how tough he is.”

Oh, and don’t think Witt was going to let a little, measly truck get in the way of his morning coffee.

After shaking off the bizarre incident and leaving the scene, Witt crossed the street and finally ordered himself that latte.

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