Nets’ Woolridge Seeks Drug Help

New Jersey Nets forward Orlando Woolridge, who said earlier, “It’s not normal for guys to just disappear,” will be out of sight indefinitely, it was determined Tuesday.

Woolridge was suspended by the National Basketball Assn. after admitting that he had a drug problem and will enter a rehabilitation program at Van Nuys Community Hospital, Gary Bettman, vice president and general counsel of the league, said.

Woolridge missed games Friday and Saturday nights, and when he got in touch with the Nets Sunday he said he had been involved in an automobile accident on the New Jersey Turnpike on Friday and failed to notify the team because he passed out twice after checking into a hotel room.

“Like I told a lot of people, I’m not a damned fool to not just show up for a game,” he said. “I’m not that damn crazy.”


The six-year veteran was summoned to New York Monday afternoon for a meeting with Horace Balmer, the league’s director of security.

“During the course of the meeting with Mr. Balmer I guess Orlando decided that this was as good a time as any to disclose his problem,” Bettman said.

This is Woolridge’s first violation of the NBA drug policy, which allows a player to voluntarily step forward twice and say he has a problem and undergo treatment.