SALT LAKE CITY — Thabo Sefolosha will be suspended for five games when he returns from his injury rehabilitation.
Sefolosha, who's been sidelined since January with a knee injury, and Dallas Mavericks big man Nerlens Noel have both been suspended without pay for five games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program, the league announced Tuesday morning.
Sefolosha’s suspension will begin with the next NBA regular season or playoff game for which he is eligible and physically able to play, according to an NBA press release. Noel’s suspension will begin tonight with the Mavericks' game against Portland.
Sefolosha apologized via his Twitter account on Tuesday afternoon.
"I would like to first apologize to the Utah Jazz organization, specifically to our great owners, management, coaching staff and my teammates," Sefolosha wrote. "I also would like to apologize to the NBA and to the fans, who have loyally supported me for the past 12 years.
"I've made errors in judgement, for which I take full responsibility.
"I sincerely regret any potential distraction this may cause my team, as it is fighting to qualify for the playoffs.
"I will continue to work extremely hard, all summer long, to recover quickly from this injury, and come back, stronger and better, next season."
The NBA did not specify how the 33-year-old Sefolosha violated the anti-drug program. However, the five-game suspension is the penalty for a third violation involving marijuana. Each additional violation would incur an additional five games.
From the NBA's Anti-Drug Program:
"If a player tests positive for marijuana during Random Testing or Reasonable Cause Testing, or he is convicted of, or pleads guilty, nolo contendere or no contest to, the use or possession of marijuana in violation of the law, he will be required to enter the Marijuana Program. A second violation involving marijuana will result in a $25,000 fine and the player’s re-entry into the Marijuana Program. A third violation involving marijuana will result in a five-game suspension and the player’s re-entry into the Marijuana Program. A fourth (or any subsequent) violation involving marijuana will result in a suspension that is five games longer than the player’s immediately-preceding suspension."
As agreed upon by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the following are prohibited substances for NBA players: amphetamine and its analogs, benzodiazepines, cocaine, GHB, ketamine, LSD, opiates, and PCP; marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids; steroids, performance-enhancing drugs and masking agents; and diuretics. Performance-enhancing substance that are declared illegal are automatically added to this list, and other substances can be added by the Prohibited Substances Committee.
Sefolosha will likely serve his suspension at the beginning of next season when he returns from his injury.
He signed a two-year, $10.5-million contract with Utah last offseason.