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Friday, January 27, 2006
Hornets' Andersen kicked out of NBA for drug use news services

NEW YORK -- New Orleans Hornets forward Chris Andersen was dismissed and disqualified from the NBA on Friday for violating the league's drug policy.
The "Birdman" was the first NBA player banned for drug violations since 1999.

Andersen must wait two years before he can apply for reinstatement, the league said.

According to the league's collective bargaining agreement, a player can only be disqualified for a fourth positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, or a first positive test for "drugs of abuse."

The drugs on that list are amphetamine and its analogs, which include methamphetamine; cocaine; LSD; opiates, including heroin, codeine and morphine; and PCP.

Andersen has not previously been suspended for steroid use.

Andersen, 27, averaged 5.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 32 games this season, his fifth in the NBA. He played three seasons for the Nuggets before joining the Hornets.

He has a four-year, $14 million contract with the Hornets through the 2008-09 season that pays him $3.5 million a year.

Hornets owner George Shinn said in a statement released by the team, "we were obviously disappointed and saddened to hear that Chris has been dismissed from the league.

"On behalf of his teammates, coaches and the entire organization, we wish him well and hope he learns from this experience," Shinn said.

Known as "Birdman" for his high-flying dunks, Andersen was a favorite among Hornets fans in Oklahoma City, where the team is playing most of its home games this season.

Neither the NBA nor the union is allowed to comment on specifics of a player's drug test.

"The players' association plans on filing a grievance on Chris Andersen's behalf," union spokesman Dan Wasserman said. "Our expectation is that a grievance hearing will take place in approximately two weeks."

The hearing will be heard by an independent grievance arbitrator.

Andersen played in 67 games for the Hornets last season, averaging 7.7 points and 6.1 rebounds.

He is best known for his performance in the NBA's dunk contest last year when he needed eight tries to finish his first dunk.

Andersen is the first player kicked out because of drugs since Stanley Roberts in 1999.

Players who test positive for steroids or performance enhancing drugs, masking agents and diurectics get a 10-game suspension (1st offense), a 25-game suspension (2nd offense), a one-year suspension (3rd offense) and disqualification (4th offense).

Marijuana penalties are a $25,000 fine (2nd offense), a five-game suspension (3rd offense), a 10-game suspension (4th offense), and five additional games for each subsequent violation.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.