Jessica Simpson Pal: I'm 'Fine' – With Nine Stitches

Jessica Simpson Pal: I'm 'Fine' – With Nine Stitches
Ken Paves
Zodiac / Splash News Online; Inset:Mavrix

11/03/2008 AT 05:55 PM EST

Hairstylist-to-the-stars Ken Paves says he's on the mend after getting bashed in the face by a paparazzi camera while trying to protect friend Jessica Simpson.

"I appreciate everyone who has expressed concern," he said in a statement Monday. "While I did not expect a dinner out with friends would end up with me in the emergency room and nine stitches in my head, I am fine."

Photographers descended upon Simpson, 28, and Paves when they left the L.A. hotspot Madeo over the weekend. When Paves rushed forward to help her to their car, a photographer struck him in the face with a camera, apparently by accident, sending him to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

"My only real concern on Saturday night, and it remains so in retrospect, was for the safety of my friend and all concerned," he says. "I understand everyone has a job to do, including paparazzi. If I were to say anything about Saturday night, it is only to encourage that everyone would respect and care for the safety of others above all else."
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