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#pounditFriday, January 21, 2022

Pelicans player has unusual explanation for positive PED test

Didi Louzada warming up

A New Orleans Pelicans player is offering an out-of-the-ordinary explanation after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Pelicans guard Didi Louzada drew a 25-game suspension from the NBA on Friday for a violation of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program. He tested positive for drostanolone and testosterone.

Louzada said in a statement to ESPN that he had unknowingly ingested the banned substances during an offseason trip to Brazil. He consulted with a nutritionist, who recommended that he take certain substances.

“When I was in Brazil during the offseason, I consulted a nutritionist who recommended I take some vitamins and supplements,” Louzada explained in the statement. “Because she has a history of working with professional athletes, I would never have imagined that any of those substances would be banned or could be contaminated. Once I learned of the positive test, I immediately cooperated completely with the league and union to help all of us understand what exactly occurred.

“I would never knowingly take anything that violates NBA rules,” Louzada continued. “I accept my responsibility in this situation. I deeply regret that this happened and I apologize to my team, my teammates, and Pelicans fans for this mistake.”

The 22-year-old Louzada is of Brazilian descent. He was taken in the second round of the 2019 draft, and the Pelicans traded for his rights. But Louzada has made just five appearances for them in two seasons. He has also spent time with New Orleans’ G League affiliate, the Birmingham Squadron.

PED suspensions are fairly uncommon in the NBA. The last one happened a couple of years ago with a more well-known player.

Photo: May 9, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Didi Louzada stands on the court before a game between the Charlotte Hornets and the New Orleans Pelicans at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

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