NEW YORK - Orlando Magic forward Rashard Lewis tested positive for an elevated testosterone level and was suspended yesterday for 10 games.
Lewis said in a statement that he took an over-the-counter supplement late last season that included a substance he did not realize was banned by the NBA.
“First and foremost I take full responsibility for the situation and accept the corresponding penalty,’’ Lewis said. “I apologize to Magic fans, my teammates and this organization for not doing the research that should come with good judgment.’’
He will be suspended without pay for the first 10 regular-season games for which he is eligible and physically able to play. He will be docked about $1.6 million of his $18 million salary for the 2009-10 season.
The first game he could play would be Nov. 16 at home against Charlotte. He will miss Orlando’s first game against Cleveland, the team the Magic upset in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Orlando Sentinel, citing unidentified NBA sources, reported the supplement contained DHEA, a steroids precursor.
Lewis is the sixth player to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs since the league began testing in 1999.
“I hope every athlete can learn from my mistake that supplements, no matter how innocent they seem, should only be taken after consulting an expert in the field,’’ Lewis said in a statement.
Lewis’s agent, Tony Dutt, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lewis, 29, is one of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters at 6 feet 10 inches, allowing him to play on the perimeter and the Magic to create the matchup problems that helped them beat the Celtics and Cavaliers in the postseason.