WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON - Washington Wizards forward Christian Laettner was suspended for five games without pay yesterday by the NBA for violating the league's anti-drug policy.
Laettner, 34, a 6-foot-11 forward who is in his 12th NBA season, was notified by the league Monday about the violation. His suspension began with last night's game against the Houston Rockets. Laettner, who is averaging 6.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in 30 games, can return to the team on Jan. 23 at Boston.
"Christian knows that he made a mistake," said Wizards coach Eddie Jordan. "After five games, the team will move forward. Hopefully, our guys will step forward and do a good job while he's out."
In a statement issued by the team, Laettner said he "deeply" regretted the embarrassment that his actions caused to his family, fans and to his teammates and the organization, adding that he would seek "professional assistance."
Under the terms of the league's collective bargaining agreement, the specific reason for Laettner's suspension was not disclosed. However, the drug policy provides for a five-game suspension for a first positive test for steroid use, a third positive test for marijuana use or for failing to comply with an after-care program.