Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson suspended 25 games for violating NBA’s anti-drug program

The NBA suspended Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson on Tuesday for 25 games without pay for violating the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.

Thompson’s suspension will begin Wednesday for Cleveland’s game against the Bucks in Milwaukee. He will be eligible to return on March 16 at Houston.

Thompson tested positive for ibutamoren and SARM LGD-4033, according to the league. Ibutamoren increases levels of HGH in the body and is popular among bodybuilders. LGD-4033, also known as Ligandrol, is the same substance that resulted in Joakim Noah’s suspension by the NBA in 2017. LGD-4033 is a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has described as having similar properties to anabolic agents but without steroid-related side effects.

The World Anti-Doping Agency added LGD-4033 to its banned substances list in 2018, although the USADA has cautioned that some dietary supplement manufacturers illegally put SARMs such as LGD-4033 in their products and omit the substances from the labels or use misleading names to confuse consumers.

Injuries have ravaged the Cavs and this suspension isn’t going to help. Thompson has been a pleasant surprise in his return to Cleveland. He has appeared in 36 of the Cavs’ 41 games and has been a useful rotational big off the bench, particularly since Evan Mobley went down last month with a knee injury.

With Mobley and Darius Garland still rehabbing, and now Thompson out, the Cavs somehow remain red hot. Their eight-game winning streak is the best in the league despite the personnel losses and they remain fourth in the East at 26-15.

This is a blow for Thompson, who turns 33 in March. He was out of the league and doing television before reviving his career late last season with the Los Angeles Lakers. He returned to Cleveland in the offseason as the lone member of the 2016 championship team and is averaging 3.8 points and 3.9 rebounds.

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(Photo: Ken Blaze / USA Today)

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