The Orlando Magic will have to move forward with their season without the services of forward Hedo Turkoglu. The NBA has suspended Turkoglu for 20 games after the forward turned in a drug test that showed up positive for Methenolone, which is an anabolic steroid banned by the NBA.
Turkoglu stated that he took the drug this summer when he was back home in Turkey and used the old excuse used by every athlete that he didn’t know Methenolone was a banned substance.
“While I was back home in Turkey this past summer, I was given a medication by my trainer to help recover more quickly from a shoulder injury. I didn’t know that this was a banned substance and didn’t check before taking it. I take full responsibility for anything that goes into my body. This was a complete error in judgment on my part and I apologize to the Orlando Magic organization, the league, my teammates, and the Magic fans. I know I have let down a lot of people and I am truly sorry for my mistake.”
The name is a bigger story here than the impact the suspension will bring. The Magic have not been all that great this season and Turkoglu has been a big reason for the poor record. When Dwight Howard was traded, Turkoglu suddenly became the biggest name on the team but has fallen into a rut of averaging just 2.9 points, 2.1 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game.
On top of that, Turkoglu missed 11 games due to a broken hand, so now the question needs to be asked as to whether or not Turkoglu used Methenolone to help recover from that injury as well.
But the fact that the NBA has suspended a notable name like Turkoglu deserves a little more than just a footnote, and it also raises some concern about other Turkish players in the NBA. The issue of steroids in the NBA has largely been ignored and brushed under the rug by those in charge, despite the fact that Daivd Stern now seems committed to cleaning up a problem that supposedly doesn’t exist.
Turkoglu isn’t some D-League reject who got busted, he’s one of the more recognizable names in the sport, which means his suspension may open up a forum on how steroids in the NBA should be handled moving forward.