NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Now that Joakim Noah has been cleared by doctors to play, he can officially begin not playing.
Noah, 32, has not played since Feb. 4 due to a knee injury. The NBA said when it announced the ban that it would begin with the “first NBA regular season or playoff game for which he is eligible and physically able to play.”
The suspension will include the first 12 games of next season.
Noah tested positive for selective androgen receptor modulator LGD-4033, a performance-enhancing substance that can be found in over-the-counter supplements.
The two-time All-Star said Wednesday he was sorry.
“I made a mistake,” Noah told reporters at the Knicks’ practice facility. “It was a tough year for me, for this team. And I want to start by apologizing to my teammates and to the Knicks, to the organization — I let a lot of people down. It was a mistake, and I’ve got to learn from it and bounce back. This is a tough moment, but I’m going to learn from it.
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“I tried to take a supplement to help with everything that I was going through. I’ve gone through a lot of injuries, and I tried to take something to help me, and it backfired. I know it didn’t come from a bad place. I’ve been working with the league on this for a while. I think I got punished for — 20 games is severe. But it is what it is, and I’ve got to bounce back.”
Noah, who spent his first nine seasons with the Chicago Bulls, is in the first year of a four-year, $72 million contract. He has averaged 5.0 points and 8.7 rebounds in 46 games this season and has been limited to 75 games over the last two seasons.