Barack Obama receives stitches after getting hit during basketball game

U.S President Barack Obama was accidentally elbowed in the face while playing basketball on Friday and received 12 stitches to his lip, the White House said.

Obama, a keen basketball player, had been playing with friends and family in a 10-person game at Fort McNair, a U.S. military post in Washington.

"After being inadvertently hit with an opposing player's elbow in the lip ... the president received 12 stitches today, administered by the White House Medical Unit," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

The president was given a local anesthetic while receiving the stitches, Gibbs said.

Obama was later spotted by reporters through an upstairs White House window holding what appeared to be a compress against his mouth, while the White House Christmas tree was being delivered outside.