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NBA suspends the Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson for drug infraction

NBA suspends the Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson for drug infraction
Hornets power forward Al Jefferson pauses as he speaks to the media after the NBA announced Jefferson has been suspended for violating the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program. (Chuck Burton / Associated Press)

The Charlotte Hornets will be without Al Jefferson for an additional five games once he returns from a leg injury after the veteran center was suspended without pay for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.

Jefferson is currently out with a strained left calf and can't begin serving the five-game suspension until he's healthy, the league announced Wednesday.

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Team officials said on Nov. 30 that Jefferson would miss "two to three weeks" because of the injury, so it is unclear exactly when Jefferson will be eligible to return to action.

"I just feel so low right now for every little boy and every little girl who looks at me as somebody they look up to," Jefferson said an hour before the Hornets hosted Miami. "For me to make mistakes like this, it's not cool. It's not cool for them and it's not cool for me. That kills me more than anything."

The banned substance Jefferson used has not been disclosed. When a reporter asked Jefferson if the substance was marijuana, he declined to answer.

"I failed a drug test," he said.

Jefferson, who said he lost 25 pounds this off-season, was averaging 13.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game this season for the Hornets, below his career averages of 16.9 points and nine rebounds per game. Jefferson said he first learned of the positive drug test "about two weeks ago."

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