Hedo Turkoglu suspended 20 games for violating anti-drug policy

By Royce Young | NBA writer
Turkoglu is suspended 20 games. (Getty Images)

Hedo Turkoglu has been suspended 20 games for violating the terms of the league anti-drug program, the NBA announced Wednesday.

Turkoglu tested positive for methenolone, according to the league.

Per the policy, banned substances include drugs of abuse (cocaine, amphetimines), steroids and marijuana. Methenolone falls under the steroids category. Steroids were added to the list of banned substances in 1999.

Turkoglu released this statement through the team:

"While I was back home in Turkey this past summer, I was given a medication by my trainer to help recover more quickly from a shoulder injury. I didn't know that this was a banned substance and didn't check before taking it.

"I take full responsibility for anything that goes into my body. This was a complete error in judgment on my part, and I apologize to the Orlando Magic organization, the league, my teammates and the Magic fans. I know I have let down a lot of people, and I am truly sorry for my mistake."

Magic general manager Rob Hennigan released one as well:

"Hedo unknowingly took a banned substance. There are more than 125 banned substances on the NBA list, and we spend a lot of time educating our players on the contents of that list and will certainly continue to do so moving forward. We believe this was an honest mistake."

All players are subject to four random tests each season (Oct. 1-June 30). They are also subject to two random tests during the offseason (July 1-Sept. 30). All tests are conducted by an independent third party and without prior notice to the player.

A first offense is a 20-game suspension. A second is 45 games. A third positive test is permanent banishment from the league. However, a player can be banned for a first positive result on a "drugs of abuse." (This happened to Chris Andersen, who was reinstated.)

Turkoglu, 33, is averaging 2.9 points and 2.1 assists this season. He's only appeared in 11 games this season after breaking his hand in Orlando's season opener. His suspension will begin on Wednesday night as the Magic host the Hawks.

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