The Grizzlies were already at a disadvantage heading into their first-round playoff matchup against the second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that features superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. But now, Memphis has taken a hit of their own – effective immediately, guard Nick Calathes will be forced to sit out the next 20 games due to violating the NBA’s Anti-Drug Program, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Per Wojnarowski, the substance Calathes tested positive for was Tamoxifen, under the classification of a “performance enhancer” that reduces estrogen levels, which is occasionally used by “steroid-taking athletes.” Wojnarowski, however, does note that “NBA lab results found no traces of synthetic testosterone or performance-enhancing drugs, and, as one source told Yahoo Sports, “‘There was no intent, nor advantage gained here.’”
This is a big blow to the Grizzlies, a squad that heavily relied on Calathes to provide sufficient backup point guard minutes in place of Mike Conley Jr. In his absence, the torch will most likely be passed to Beno Udrih, the veteran guard who was picked up by Memphis via waivers in February.
The 25-year-old rookie averaged 4.9 points on 45.7 percent shooting, dishing out 2.9 assists in 71 games this season.