New York Knicks center Joakim Noah apologized for his failed drug test Tuesday after receiving medical clearance for basketball activities from team doctors Monday night. He's hoping his 20-game suspension will start soon after returning to the practice floor Tuesday.
Ian Begley of ESPN noted Noah made an apology to the Knicks and the team's fans for the "mistake" he made by taking the banned substance. He also confirmed the substance taken while going through injury rehab was not cleared by the organization's medical staff, per Begley, who shared Noah's interview with the media:
Al Iannazzone of Newsday added Noah wants the ban to begin "as soon as possible" since he's no longer injured.
The 32-year-old New York City native joined the Knicks in July as part of an offseason roster overhaul that also included the acquisition of Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee and the since-departed Brandon Jennings as the team looked to contend for a playoff spot.
New York, which currently owns a 28-46 record, failed to live up to those rising expectations. Noah hasn't made much of an impact after signing a four-year, $72.59 million contract, averaging 5.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks across 46 appearances.
In early March, Noah told Marc Berman of the New York Post he didn't play nearly as well as he hoped and the health setback only made things worse.
"It sucks to not be able to play," Noah said. "It's been a tough year. I just want to get back healthy and prove myself. I'm not happy with the way I played this year. I want to bring more to this team. Only way you can do that is when you're healthy."
Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported the February surgery on the veteran's left knee was expected to sideline him for the rest of the season.
Instead, Berman noted Monday the Knicks were "hectically rushing" to get the center back on the floor to start the suspension clock. He pointed out NBA doctors will have to examine him before the 20-game ban officially gets underway.
The next opportunity will come Wednesday night when New York is scheduled to face off with the Miami Heat. If he's cleared, he'll miss the final eight games of the current season and the first 12 contests of the 2017-18 campaign.