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A Positive Drug Tests Caps the Cav's Win Streak

The Cleveland Cavaliers started the new year off on a loss, but have not looked back after winning eight in a row since the first game of the year. A team doing this well, winning games by almost 40 points and currently fourth in the Eastern Conference, is expected to keep up their momentum into their next set of games. Nothing can go wrong, right? You’d be wrong. 

On Tuesday, January 23, 2024, The National Basketball Association (NBA) released a statement that Tristan Thompson, a member of the Cavaliers, tested positive for two illegal substances. According to the NBA’s statement, the drugs were ibutamoren– a hormone enhancer– and SARM LGD-4033, which is known for muscle enhancement. These substances are considered “illegal” under the terms  of the NBA/National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) anti-drug program. Because of this, he will be suspended for 25 games, all unpaid, starting on January 24, 2024 in a game against Milwaukee. 

Courtesy of Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The NBA/NBPA’s anti-drug program started in 1983 in an effort to steer players away from using performance-enhancing drugs and to aid players who may abuse said substances. Throughout the season and off season, players are subjected to six random drug tests, which can only be conducted based on reasonable cause. On top of this, the players can not have any knowledge that they will have to take a drug test, aiming to keep the game fair for all players.

What does this mean for Tristan Thompson and the Cleveland Cavaliers? 

Courtesy of AP Photos/Sue Ogrocki

For Thompson, he will not be able to participate in the next 25 games for the Cavaliers. The next game he will be eligible to compete in is against the Houston Rockets on March 16, 2024. The Ontario native is allowed to practice and travel with the team, but he has to be out of the sports arena two hours before any games.

Courtesy of David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

In response to the news, the Cavaliers have released a statement saying, "We are disappointed in the recent news surrounding Tristan Thompson. His time away from game action will have an impact on our team." Thompson is averaging 12.4 minutes and 3.8 points per game. Luckily for the Cavaliers, they still have their starters and players with stacked stats, such as Donovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen, on the court, but news like this can shake any team.

On January 24th, the Cavaliers lost against Milwaukee, capping their win streak to eight games. Two days later, they played the Bucks again, and this time they came out on top. Thompson’s presence not on the court will take some adjusting, but it seems that Cleveland was able to rebound from his absence.

Edited by Emilia Morello

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