In yet another blow to the Orlando Magic during a largely dismal season for the franchise, the NBA suspended small forward Hedo Turkoglu on Wednesday for 20 games without pay for testing positive for methenolone, an anabolic steroid.
Turkoglu said the drug test stemmed from a medication he took over the summer when he was in Turkey. He said he received the medication from his personal trainer to treat a shoulder injury and didn’t check with Magic medical staff to make sure the medication was safe.
“I’m sorry,” Turkoglu said. “I want to apologize [to] the DeVos family, the Magic organization, my teammates and, most important, all my fans here and all around the world and back home. This is a situation I never wanted to be in.”
Turkoglu said the league tested him in December, and Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said team officials were told by Turkoglu about the positive test a week ago.
Hennigan said he believed Turkoglu “unknowingly” took the substance.
“Clearly, Hedo made a mistake,” Hennigan added. “He knows he made a mistake. He’s owning it. It’s certainly a disappointing circumstance for us, but I personally feel very confident in the amount of diligence we use to inform our players as to what can and cannot be taken.”
Turkoglu became the second Magic player since 2009 to be suspended by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.
During the 2009 postseason, Rashard Lewis twice tested positive for an elevated testosterone level and was suspended for the first 10 games of the 2009-10 regular season.
Lewis said he took an over-the-counter supplement that he didn't realize contained a banned substance called dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA.
In the league’s anti-drug policy, DHEA and methenolone each fall under a list of banned substances classified as “steroids, performance-enhancing drugs and masking agents” (or SPEDs).
Turkoglu, who will turn 34 years old in March, did not provide details about the substance he took — whether it was injected or whether he took it orally — or how many times he took it, even though he was asked those specific questions during a news conference at Amway Center.
NBA players are subject to four random tests each season and to two random tests each offseason. Anyone who tests positive for SPEDs for the first time receives an automatic 20-game suspension and is required to enter the league’s SPEDs program.
Turkoglu has missed most of this season because he fractured his left hand in the Magic’s season-opener.
Hedo Turkoglu suspended 20 games by NBA for violating league's drug policy
Orlando Sentinel | Feb 14