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Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk

April 19, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA players are warned at the start of every season about the dangers of nutritional supplements. One of them could be the reason the Memphis Grizzlies will begin the playoffs without Nick Calathes.

The reserve guard was suspended for 20 games on Friday for violating the league’s anti-drug policy by testing positive for tamoxifen.

Yahoo Sports reported that the drug was part of a supplement that Calathes had been using. And while the supplement may not have been illegal, players are reminded that many contain substances that are.

“They are not regulated by the federal government and so you don’t know what’s in them. And we tell that to our players every year,” NBA general counsel Rick Buchanan said on Saturday.

Players are randomly tested four times during the season and twice in the offseason.

Buchanan couldn’t talk specifically about the case of Calathes, a 25-year-old rookie reserve who averaged 4.9 points and 2.9 assists in 71 games this season.

But he said tamoxifen, often used in breast cancer treatment pills, is on the banned substance list of most sports because it can be used to increase testosterone.

Calathes will have to miss the games, though he can file a grievance to an independent arbitrator in hopes of recovering his lost salary.

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