Knicks' Joakim Noah apologizes for banned substance 'mistake'

Joakim Noah apologized to the New York Knicks and their fans for taking a banned substance, and he has been medically cleared by NBA doctors for Wednesday's game against the Miami Heat so he can begin serving his 20-game suspension.

"I made a mistake. It was a tough year for me, for this team," Noah said after returning to practice Tuesday. "... I let a lot of people down. It was a mistake. And I gotta learn from it and bounce back. This is a tough moment and I'm going to learn from it."

Noah, 32, tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement -- selective androgen receptor modulator LGD-4033 -- that is banned under the NBA's current collective bargaining agreement. He said the supplement was not provided by the Knicks; it was an over-the-counter supplement the he took while trying to rehab from an injury.

"I tried to take a supplement to help me with everything that I was going through," Noah said, intimating that he took it while rehabbing from a hamstring injury he suffered in early February. "I've gone through a lot of injuries and I tried to take something to help me and it backfired.

"So I know it didn't come from a bad place. I was working with the league on this for a while. I think that what I got punished for -- 20 games -- is severe, but it is what it is, and I've got to bounce back."

The suspension will start when Noah, who has not played since Feb. 4 and had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Feb. 27 to remove loose fragments of cartilage or bone, is "eligible and physically able to play" in either a regular season or playoff game, the NBA said.

Noah, who was initially expected to miss the rest of the season, has been cleared by Knicks doctors to play. He also needed to be cleared by an independent doctor from the NBA before returning to the active roster, which happened Wednesday.

Noah will serve eight games this season and then will miss the first 12 games of the 2017-18 season.

Noah said he has been "transparent" with the league since failing the drug test, but he did not want to provide much detail about the process.

"I tried to take the right measures when I was taking supplements and it wasn't enough," Noah said. "I don't really want to get into the details and all that. It was a long process. I think the people in the league were very cooperative. ... With these supplements, you've got to be careful because sometimes they have other things in them that they don't say. It's a tough lesson to learn."

The Knicks signed Noah to a four-year, $72 million contract over the summer with the hopes that he could be a defensive anchor for the club. Noah has performed well below expectations, missing time throughout the season because of various injuries.

With Noah sidelined, Kristaps Porzingis orWilly Hernangomez will start at center for New York.

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Noah on banned substance: 'I made a mistake'
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Joakim Noah apologizes to the Knicks and their fans for taking a banned substance.
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