Joakim Noah has been suspended for 20 NBA games.
Joakim Noah has been suspended for 20 NBA games. Todd Kirkland

NBA star Joakim Noah banned for positive drug test

BASKETBALL: Joakim Noah, the son of former French tennis star Yanick Noah, has been suspended for 20 NBA games after testing positive for a banned substance.

The 32-year-old New York Knicks centre tested positive for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator LGD-4033, a substance intended to produce effects similar to those of anabolic steroids, NBA officials said.

With the Knicks all-but ruled out of playoff contention with a 27-45 win record, sharing 12th in the NBA's Eastern Conference and trailing Miami by eight games, Noah looks set to miss the start of next season as his ban begins with the first NBA regular-season or playoff game for which he is eligible and physically able to play.

Noah, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on February 4 and has not played since, tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement banned under the current league bargaining agreement with the players union.

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) said neither Noah nor the union will appeal the suspension.

"After a thorough investigation, the NBPA believes that Joakim Noah did not intentionally or knowingly violate any policy," a union statement said.

"We believe that this isolated occurrence was a regrettable mistake. Joakim has offered his deepest apologies for this infraction."