West says he'll go in for treatment of alcohol abuse before reporting

Published: Monday, Feb. 23 1998 12:00 a.m. MST

Longtime Minnesota Timberwolves guard Doug West plans to enter a treatment program for alcohol abuse, a problem that surfaced after he was traded last week to the Vancouver Grizzlies.

West, 30, acknowledged a substance abuse problem and depression in an open letter to friends and fans that was released Sunday night.He said he tried to cope with the problem himself but lapsed into what he called the "lifestyle" because of a series of injuries, as well as reduced playing time and production.

West will enter treatment this week with the help of the players association, before playing for the Grizzlies.

West, who initially balked last week when the Timberwolves traded him to Vancouver for Anthony Peeler, revealed his need for help while undergoing a mandatory physical Saturday for the Grizzlies.

Kevin McHale, the Timberwolves' vice president of basketball operations, said the team knew nothing of West's depression or substance abuse.

"No, of course not," McHale said. "If you're aware of something like that, you get it taken care of. You address that the way you would any kind of illness or whatever. That might explain his very erratic play."

West averaged 4.1 points and shot 37.4 percent for Minnesota this season.

Teammates, coaches and Wolves management knew that West drank alcohol and kept late hours.

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