The fear and panic struck Charlotte Bobcats power forward Byron Mullens as soon as he hit the floor in Denver's Pepsi Center late in his team's loss Dec.?22.

The way his left ankle turned so acutely, combined with the sudden, piercing pain, had to mean a fracture.

"When I went down I told them it was broken. I looked down at my leg and it was jammed to the side," Mullens said in his first extended comments since the injury. "Later I looked at (the fall) on TV and it looked bad then, too."

It became even scarier after teammates carried him off the floor to an examination room. His ankle quickly swelled to several times its normal size.

"I didn't really see it until I got on the X-ray table. When I saw it, I kind of freaked out – I'd never seen a sprained ankle look like that," Mullens recalled.

"I absolutely thought it was broken."

Turns out he was wrong. It was a severe sprain. Two weeks later he's out of the protective boot that keeps the joint in proper alignment to promote healing. Now he's down to a brace and Mullens can walk without a limp, as he did Friday when he watched his teammates' lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday at Time Warner Cable Arena.