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NBA PM: Hedo Turkoglu Explains Suspension
Posted By Alex Kennedy On February 13, 2013 @ 5:31 pm In NBA | No Comments
On Wednesday, the NBA announced that Hedo Turkoglu has been suspended 20 games for testing positive for a banned substance. Turkoglu addressed the media earlier today and explained the situation, saying that he didn’t use the substance to improve his performance but rather to recover from a shoulder injury and relieve pain.
Turkoglu took the substance over the offseason in Turkey. He failed the drug test in December and was notified that he had tested positive for the anabolic steroid methenolone last week.
Turkoglu had missed Orlando’s last three games with flu-like symptoms and a sore back, but Magic general manager Rob Hennigan insisted that the ailments were real and Turkoglu’s benching had no connection with the failed drug test.
The last player to fail a drug test for steroids was Rashard Lewis in 2009. Lewis, who was also with the Magic at the time of his suspension, received a 10-game suspension after testing positive for DHEA, a steroid precursor that elevates testosterone.
Turkoglu wouldn’t give specifics, including how often he took the substance. The only details that Turkoglu would provide was that the substance was in pill form and served as a “pain killer.”
Many people look at Turkoglu’s awful season and wonder how he of all players failed a steroids test. This season, Turkoglu averaging just 2.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 17.2 minutes. Turkoglu made it clear that the substance he took wasn’t a performance enhancing drug, just a pill that speeds up recovery and relieves pain. He said that’s why he didn’t return to Orlando “jacked up,” “flying out of the roof,” and “dunking on everybody.”
The suspension is just the latest issue with Turkoglu. He said that this year has been a nightmare and one of the worst of his career because he has had so many injuries and issues to deal with. All of these issues may mean that Turkoglu’s days in Orlando are numbered. Hennigan said that he expects Turkoglu to resume playing after the 20-game suspension comes to an end, but he wouldn’t say that Turkoglu would be on the roster next season. Only $6 million of Turkoglu’s $12 million 2013-14 salary is guaranteed. Couple that with the fact that Turkoglu isn’t in Orlando’s long-term plan and it doesn’t look good for the veteran forward.
“I think we’re going to get through this step and then we’ll worry about the summer when the summer comes,” Hennigan said of Turkoglu’s future. “Contracts are what they are and we’ll get to make decisions about a lot of things over the summer and certainly Hedo’s situation will be one of them. We’re not able to comment now on what that decision will be.”
Turkoglu was extremely apologetic and regrets making this mistake.
“As a player, this is the worst situation that you can be in,” Turkoglu said. “I just want to start [by saying] I’m sorry. I apologize to the DeVos family, the Magic organization, my teammates and, most importantly, my fans here and all around the world. This is a situation that I never wanted to be in. I’m sorry to be in this situation and I really apologize to put the organization in this situation. I’m really sorry for everything that happened.
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