NBA: Charlotte's Al Jefferson banned five games for drug violation

Al Jefferson of the Charlotte Hornets reacts after a play.
Al Jefferson of the Charlotte Hornets reacts after a play.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Charlotte Hornets centre Al Jefferson, sidelined another week or two by a left calf strain, was issued a five-game suspension by the NBA on Wednesday for vioalting terms of its Anti-Drug Program.

No details were given about the nature of the violation or the medication involved, a typical move under US medical privacy laws.

Jefferson, who was hurt in the first quarter of a Nov 29 game against Milwaukee, will miss the first five games for which he is eligible and physically able to play.

Jefferson is averaging 13.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 blocked shots a game for Charlotte.

He boasts career averages of 16.9 points and 9.0 rebounds over 12 NBA campaigns with Boston, Minnesota, Utah and Charlotte.

In the worst-case scenario under current medical expectations, Jefferson would miss the remaining 11 games of 2015 and could return at Toronto on Jan 1.

Should he become healthy sooner, he might back for a Dec 26 home game against Memphis.

The Hornets are 12-8 and have won seven of their past nine games, losing only to unbeaten defending NBA champion Golden State and reigning Eastern Conference champion Cleveland.

Charlotte stands level fourth in the East, only one loss behind Miami for the Southeast division lead.