CLEVELAND (AP) — Tristan Thompson has given the Cavaliers another issue to manage.
Cleveland's backup center was suspended 25 games without pay by the NBA on Tuesday for violating the league's anti-drug policy, a penalty that will keep him out of the rotation and off the floor for two months.
According to the league, the 32-year-old Thompson tested positive for ibutamoren, a growth hormone, and SARM LGD-4033, commonly used by body builders and weight lifters for muscle enhancement.
Thompson will begin serving his suspension Wednesday when the Cavs, who have won eight straight games, play the first of two in three days at Milwaukee. He'll be eligible to return on March 16 against Houston.
The Cavs have managed to steer around injuries to starters Darius Garland and Evan Mobley and have been playing their best ball since mid-December. Thompson's absence will hurt the team's bench depth.
The team released a statement a few hours after the league's announcement.
“The Cleveland Cavaliers fully support the NBA/NBAPA Anti-Drug Program, and we are disappointed in the recent news surrounding Tristan Thompson," the Cavs said. "His time away from game action will have an impact on our team. We stand behind Tristan and offer our support throughout this suspension period.”
During the suspension, Thompson is allowed to travel and practice. The only restriction is that he must be out of the arena at least two hours prior to tipoff for any games.
Thompson is in his second stint with the Cavs, who originally drafted the Canadian with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 draft. The 6-foot-11 Thompson has become a beloved player in Cleveland. He was a member of the 2016 NBA championship team, which won the city's first major pro sports title since 1964.
Thompson spent his first nine seasons as a pro with the Cavs before bouncing around. He's also played with Boston, Sacramento, Indiana, Chicago and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Cavs re-signed him as a free agent to a one-year contract before this season. He's only averaging 3.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 12 minutes, but Thompson has also helped Cleveland navigate a spate of injuries.
Cleveland has been without Garland (broken jaw) and forward Mobley (knee surgery) for more than a month. However, the Cavs have gone 13-3 without them, and at 26-15 have moved into the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference.
Garland was cleared to resume on-court workouts last week after he had the wiring removed from his jaw, and Mobley has increased his activity of late. Both players are expected back in the lineup at some point next month.
Thompson had four points and five rebounds in Cleveland’s 126-99 win at Orlando on Monday night.
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