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Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes suspended 20 games for violating NBA’s anti-drug policy

Apr 19, 2014, 1:54 AM EDT

UPDATE 4-19, 1:54 am: The NBA has confirmed the suspension, just as previously reported. The 20-game suspension begins on Saturday when the Grizzlies take on the Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.

The positive test was for Tamoxifen, which is on the banned substance list because it can be used as a masking agent for steroid use.

4-18 7:49 pm: On the eve of the NBA playoffs, things just got much more difficult for the Memphis Grizzlies.

This is an odd one, as a cursory search shows that Tamoxifen “treats advanced breast cancer in men and women, and early breast cancer in women. Also may prevent breast cancer in women who are at a high risk because of age, family history, or other factors.”

It appears to be geared toward women specifically, as this WebMD post would seem to indicate. But apparently, it can also be used to mask steroids.

From William Harris of How Stuff Works:

Many breast cancers have receptors for estrogen, a hormone that promotes the development and maintenance of female characteristics of the body. When estrogen molecules fit into these receptors, like a key fitting into a lock, the malignant cells become activated. Tamoxifen blocks these estrogen receptors, interfering with the cancer’s ability to grow and develop. This is why scientists refer to tamoxifen as an anti-estrogenic agent.

Now let’s turn our attention to a home-run slugger taking steroid injections — usually synthetic testosterone — to grow his muscles. Large doses of the male hormone cause the body to produce additional estrogen. This in turn can result in enlarged breasts, a feature that most power hitters find unappealing. To counteract the effects of estrogen and mask their steroid use, these players may opt to take tamoxifen. That means anti-estrogens don’t really enhance performance, but, because they alleviate symptoms of PEDs, they appear on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of more than 200 banned substances and methods.

Calathes is in his first year with Memphis, and though casual fans may have no idea who he is, his absence from the first round of the playoffs will hurt the Grizzlies chances.

Calathes has been getting legitimate time in the rotation backing up Mike Conley, averaging 16.5 minutes per game. With him now unavailable, Memphis will likely be forced into playing Knicks castoff Beno Udrih, and that’s a severe downgrade, especially defensively.

Wojnarowski reports that the NBA is expected to make the announcement official late Friday or sometime on Saturday. The Grizzlies open the playoffs in Oklahoma City against the Thunder at 9:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

  1. andreboy1 - Apr 18, 2014 at 8:15 PM

    Submit the supplement for the public to investigate or else the supplement was used to cover up PED’s. If these guys were innocent then they would disclose what supplement they used in order to prove their innocence. But they never do.

  2. cantonbound13 - Apr 18, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    Good thing for Heat fans they clearly only test bench players.

  3. beavertonsteve - Apr 18, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    I was sure it was going to be for Proscar like Zach Lund.

    • beavertonsteve - Apr 25, 2014 at 10:59 PM

      Ha, I was right.

  4. davidly - Apr 18, 2014 at 8:59 PM

    anythingbutcantonbound’s troll-bait aside, does anyone here think for a minute that if this were an elite player that we’d be hearing about it?

    • kinggw - Apr 18, 2014 at 9:21 PM

      Absolutely. This information passes through too many hands to remain secret.

    • eugenesaxe1 - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:44 PM

      They wouldn’t be banning an elite player from the playoffs, that’s certain.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 19, 2014 at 12:22 PM

      I learned to take the bait. New Yawk a$$holes thrive on hate.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 19, 2014 at 12:23 PM

        HA: should read NOT TO TAKE the bait. Why validate a stupid POS.

  5. titansbro - Apr 18, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    Manny Ramirez was booted for 50 games for testing positive for a similar masking agent. There’s a reason guys take this crap.

  6. weaselpuppy - Apr 18, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    the NBA has a anti-drug policy? wow, who knew??


    85% of the NBA players smoking the chronic like they were Marlboros

    • kinggw - Apr 18, 2014 at 9:30 PM

      Larry Sanders knows all about it.

  7. dirtyjerseysports - Apr 18, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    I cant wait to see LeHGH on Oprah’s couch.

    • lj312chicago - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:48 PM

      The NBA has an anti HGH testing policy….heavily fought for by the players union….I repeat….the NBA players union fought to not allow the NBA to include HGH testing in the CBA….I wonder why ….LeBron

      • lj312chicago - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:49 PM

        if you don’t think steroids run ramped in the NBA you’re an idiot…

      • Kevin S. - Apr 19, 2014 at 3:54 PM

        Have you considered that maybe it’s because blood testing is incredibly invasive, and the players don’t want to go through that for something that has never been demonstrated to improve performance in elite athletes?

    • biggestredmiami - Apr 19, 2014 at 1:39 AM

      LeBron is always posting pictures of what he’s eating, workouts, and everything else he does to stay in shape. He takes his craft seriously and is a once-in-a-generation specimen, to say that he needs HGH to do it is just completely ignorant.
      Out of superstar athletes, LeBron is one of the few who has always had the pressure, been striving for more, and kept his people close to him. He would never want his legacy, that he fights so badly for, to be tarnished by a failed drug test and his friends and associates would never let him be in contact with someone dealing steroids, they know how much money his image as “The King” is worth and they would never let him piss that all away.

      Also, HGH makes you look younger, have you seen his hairline?

      • nflcrimerankingscom - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        Don’t be so naive. Replace “Lebron” with “Lance Armstrong” in your text and voila.

      • adamsjohn714 - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        The “never wanting his legacy to be tarnished” argument is illogical. However, I don’t believe Lebron has taken HGH for one simple reason. He’s always been gigantic. Unless he had a secret source giving him the stuff in middle school (with a tremendous financial gain to be made by coming forward. Imagine the book deal), he’s just a naturally humongous human being.

      • dirtyjerseysports - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:08 PM

        HGH in excess causes hair loss as well as contributes to tumors in the jaw. Oh wow that’s right he is bald and had a surgery to remove a tumor from you guessed it his jaw.

  8. lennaykekua - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    Now prefers to be called Nicole Palathes

  9. sonnysuave - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    For those who follow players or play fantasy… Calathes produced solid numbers while Conley was out for awhile. Sux to lose him, cuz he’s a good contributor. Kinda wished the Griz would go deep into the playoffs, so Zbo’s value would increase & they’d keep him. I like Zbo… solid post player & team player. Know he wants to retire as a Griz, so hope he gets his wish.

  10. 1harrypairatesties - Apr 18, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    Test LeBron.

  11. namaths5thofwhiskey - Apr 19, 2014 at 1:16 AM

    Its Udrich time baby

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 19, 2014 at 2:20 AM

      The author is saying it’s a downgrade, but honestly it’s for the best. He’ll produce more.

      • sonnysuave - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:04 AM

        At the expense of defense… & it’s all abt defense in the playoffs.

  12. money2long - Apr 19, 2014 at 1:28 AM

    It’s gotta be hard to look your teammates in the face when they find out why you won’t be helping them in battle
    Alas, innocent until proven guilty. Will we hear calathes’ side of things ? Does anyone remember what hedo said after his accusation ?

  13. 1harrypairatesties - Apr 19, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    I’ll say it again: TEST LeBRON.

  14. ProBasketballPundit - Apr 19, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Since all you a-holes seem to have all the answers about steroids, NBA draft-fixing etc… why do you even both watching the games? You know who’s going to win and who it’s fixed for. You know that it’s all a farce, so why don’t you go eff yourself instead of bothering the rest of us with your blog comments and ridiculous theories?

  15. raysfan1 - Apr 19, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    Tamoxifen does not “mask” steroid use. It is used to boost natural testosterone after a cycle of anabolic steroid use.

    Tamoxifen’s proper use is as a chemo therapeutic agent in the treatment of breast cancer. His assertion that it might be in a supplement is BS.

  16. mungman69 - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    And they suspend him just in time for the playoffs.

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