Portland Trail Blazers

Blazers' Terrel Harris Suspended Five Games for Violating Anti-Drug Program

Jul 14, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Portland Trailblazer guard Terrel Harris and center Dallas Lauderdale block out Los Angeles Lakers forward Robert Sacre from attempting a rebound after a free throw attempt made during an NBA Summer League game at the Thomas and Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 5, 2013

Portland Trail Blazers' guard Terrel Harris made sure that the NBA got its due on a day in which everyone expected Major League Baseball's drug-suspension bonanza to dominate the headlines.

According to Jared Zwerling of ESPN, Harris has run afoul of the NBA's anti-drug policy:

No details of the specific substance have been released by the league, but based on an excellent breakdown by Henry Abbott of ESPN, Harris' five-game suspension could have either been the result of a first positive test for performance-enhancing drugs or a third positive test for marijuana.

Given the harsher suspensions the NBA has been handing out for PED use since the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, it seems unlikely that Harris' ban stems from the use of performance-enhancers.

Remember, O.J. Mayo served 10 games after testing positive for the steroid DHEA in 2011, while Hedo Turkoglu was suspended for 20 games after testing positive for methenolone, an anabolic steroid, last season.

Harris' five games don't quite match the severity of either of those bans.

Coming on the heels of an interesting potential link to the Biogenesis clinic that allegedly supplied PEDs to a handful of MLB players, Harris' suspension doesn't exactly inspire confidence that the NBA has a firm grip on its issues with drugs.

No wonder, then, that commissioner David Stern seemed devoted to fast-tracking a league-wide test for human growth hormone as soon as next season, according to Ken Berger of CBS.

Harris came over to the Blazers as part of the three team trade that brought Robin Lopez from the New Orleans Pelicans. Originally considered a long shot to make the team, a 25-point performance in Portland's final contest in the Las Vegas Summer League might have changed Harris' fate.

As it is, Harris' 2013-14 salary will only become fully guaranteed if he's on the roster through Oct. 31. Now that he'll miss the first five games of the season, it's possible that the Blazers will look elsewhere for someone to occupy the end of their bench.


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