NBA: Knicks’ Noah banned for 20 games for testing positive for drugs

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — New York Knicks center Joakim Noah apologized on Tuesday for the failed drug test that resulted in a 20-game ban, vowing to bounce back from what he called a “mistake” that “backfired.”

Noah, the son of French tennis legend Yannick, was suspended by the NBA on Saturday after testing positive for an illicit substance reputed to have effects similar to anabolic steroids.

Noah has said he ingested the drug unwittingly in an over-the-counter supplement which is banned under NBA rules.

“I made a mistake,” Noah said.

“It was a tough year for me and the team and I want to start by apologizing to my teammates, to the Knicks, to the organization. I let a lot of people down. It was a mistake and I got to learn from it and bounce back.┬áThis is a tough moment but I’m going to learn from it…. I got punished. Twenty games is severe but it is what it is and I’ve got to bounce back,” he added.

The National Basketball Players Association has noted that Noah was “completely forthcoming and cooperative” throughout the league’s investigation.

In 46 games this season for the Knicks, all of them as a starter, Noah has averaged 5.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

The two-time NBA All-Star, who was named the league’s 2014 Defensive Player of the Year, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on February 4. He had also been nagged by a hamstring injury earlier this season.