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Pelicans guard Didi Louzada suspended 25 games for violating anti-drug policy

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New Orleans Pelicans guard Didi Louzada was suspended by the NBA for 25 games without pay on Friday for violating the league’s anti-drug program.

Louzada, the NBA said, tested positive for drostanolone and testosterone.

Louzada said Friday that he unknowingly took the banned substances while at his home in Brazil earlier this year.

"When I was in Brazil during the offseason, I consulted a nutritionist who recommended I take some vitamins and supplements," Louzada said in the statement, via ESPN. "Because she has a history of working with professional athletes, I would never have imagined that any of those substances would be banned or could be contaminated. Once I learned of the positive test, I immediately cooperated completely with the league and union to help all of us understand what exactly occurred.

"I would never knowingly take anything that violates NBA rules. I accept my responsibility in this situation. I deeply regret that this happened and I apologize to my team, my teammates, and Pelicans fans for this mistake."

Louzada appeared in two games so far this season with the Pelicans, his first with the team after signing a four-year, $7.6 million deal. The 22-year-old also played with the Pelicans’ G League team.

Louzada was selected in the 2019 draft, but has spent the past two seasons playing in Australia’s National Basketball League with the Sydney Kings. He averaged 8.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game last season.

Louzada will be able to return on Jan. 11 for New Orleans’ game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"On behalf of the New Orleans Pelicans organization, we were disappointed to learn that Didi Louzada violated the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program," Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement, via ESPN. "After speaking with Didi, we are confident that he understands the full gravity of the situation and regrets the decisions that led to the suspension. We fully support Didi on and off the court as he learns and grows from this experience."

Didi Louzada stands on the court before a game.
New Orleans Pelicans guard Didi Louzada was suspended 25 games for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy. (Nell Redmond/USA TODAY Sports)
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