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    Jessica Simpson's BFF Injured by Paparazzi

    UPDATE: Ken Paves has released the following statement on his late night run-in:

    "I appreciate everyone who has expressed concern after the incident which occurred outside of Madeo restaurant Saturday evening. 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.

    "My only real concern on Saturday night, and it remains so in retrospect, was for the safety of my friend and all concerned. 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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    He's the hairstylist to the stars, but Ken Paves just took one for the team.

    E! News has learned that Paves was rushed to the hospital early this morning after being injured by paparazzi while leaving a popular restaurant with Jessica Simpson and her entourage.

    "There were so many paparazzi waiting for Jessica and trying to get a picture of her that they all started pushing," says an onlooker. "Jessica was ducking down and Ken Paves and her other male friend were trying to cover her and that's when Ken was hit in the face with a camera."

    The perfectly coiffed group was leaving Madeo restaurant at 12:15 a.m. Sunday morning when they were mobbed by waiting paparazzi. Paves' face was cut during the melee.

    A source close to Simpson tells E! News that it seemed like Paves didn't really think much of the blow to the eye at first. "He seemed shocked at first," says a source. "He said something to the photographer like, 'Dude, you just hit me,' but that's all he really said before getting into the car."

    Once Simpson was safely in the backseat and Paves was in the front passenger seat, the other male in Simpson's entourage went around to the driver seat. Before getting inside, he tangled with another paparazzo.

    "It seemed like Jessica's friend was just really frustrated because the photographers were overstepping their bounds and had just hit Ken in the head," says another eyewitness.

    Once Paves got into the car, "blood was running down his nose," the bystander continues. "I guess that's when Jess and the driver realized Ken might need to get stitches, because they went straight to Cedars-Sinai [Medical Center]."

    As of 1:15 a.m., Simpson and Paves were still inside the hospital.

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