NBA suspends Bucks C Larry Sanders five games for marijuana use

Bucks center Larry Sanders was suspended Friday for five games for violating the NBA's anti-drug program.

Nelson Chenault/Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders has been suspended five games by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-drug program.

Sanders, in a statement released by the team, acknowledged the suspension is for using marijuana. According to the league’s anti-drug policy, a player isn’t suspended until his third failed test for marijuana.

"I apologize to the entire Bucks organization and our fans for being suspended five games for using marijuana in violation of the NBA Anti-Drug Program," Sanders said. "I take full responsibility for my actions."

Since Sanders is out for the year due to a fractured right orbital bone, his suspension will begin whenever he’s physically able to play, which is likely to be at the beginning of next season when his four-year, $44 million contract extension begins.


"Larry Sanders has a responsibility to every person in our organization and our fans. We are all disappointed by the news of his suspension," the Bucks said in a statement.

The league’s anti-drug policy says a player is required to enter the "Marijuana Program" on his first violation, fined $25,000 for the second violation and suspended five games on the third failed test. Any subsequent violation will result in an additional five games to the original suspension.

Sanders has had a disastrous season, one that began with his involvement in an altercation at a Milwaukee nightclub. He suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb in the incident and missed eight weeks after surgery.

Finally back into a groove after his return, Sanders was hit by an inadvertent elbow from Rockets guard James Harden that fractured his orbital bone. He underwent surgery on Feb. 14 and was ruled out for the season a short time later.

Sanders averaged 7.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 23 games this season.

Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter