The NBA suspended former Bulls center Joakim Noah of the New York Knicks for 20 games without pay for violating its drug policy.
Noah tested positive for a substance found in some over-the-counter nutritional supplements, the league said Saturday.
Noah hasn’t played since Feb. 4 and was likely to miss the Knicks’ final 10 games this season because of an injury to his left knee. The NBA said Noah’s suspension will begin with the first regular-season or playoff game for which he is ‘‘eligible and physically able to play.’’
At minimum, that means the suspension will carry over into at least the first 10 games of next season and likely longer because Noah isn’t currently able to play.
The National Basketball Players Association said it thinks Noah made an unintentional mistake.
‘‘Joakim was completely forthcoming and cooperative throughout the investigation, and we believe that this isolated occurrence was a regrettable mistake,’’ the union said in a statement. ‘‘Joakim has offered his deepest apologies for this infraction, and neither he nor the NBPA will pursue an appeal.’’
The NBA cited Noah for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator LGD-4033. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has said the substance has ‘‘similar properties to anabolic agents, but . . . the lack of steroid-related side effects.’’
Noah is in the first year of a four-year, $72 million contract. He averaged five points and 8.7 rebounds in 46 games this season and has been limited to 75 games in the last two seasons.
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said he hopes Noah can be medically cleared by the end of this season, so the suspension can begin.