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NEW YORK (AFP) – Oklahoma City Thunder forward Mitch McGary was issued a five-game NBA suspension on Friday for violating the league’s drug policy, a ban set to begin in the 2016-17 campaign.
McGary, a 24-year-old reserve center, was hampered by several injuries and played only 20 games last season, averaging only 1.3 points and 0.9 rebounds in limited playing time in his second NBA campaign.
‘‘I clearly made a mistake and for that I apologize to the organization, my teammates, and our fans,’’ McGary said in a statement published by the Oklahoman newspaper.
‘‘I realize there are only so many opportunities given to you and I need make sure that as a person and as a player I take accountability and ensure that this does not happen again.’’
The failed drug test comes after McGary, who escaped a one-year college ban after testing positive for marijuana by leaving school for the NBA, took a leave of absence from the team for a few weeks for what the club dubbed ‘‘personal reasons.’’
He scored four points in six minutes last March in a 111-97 victory over Philadelphia in his final appearance of the season. McGary.
the 21st overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, has averaged 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in two seasons with the Thunder.