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Knicks' Smith banned five games for drug violation

New York Knicks' J.R. Smith celebrates after sinking a three point basket at the buzzer at the end of the first quarter against the Boston C
New York Knicks' J.R. Smith celebrates after sinking a three point basket at the buzzer at the end of the first quarter against the Boston C

(Reuters) - New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith has been suspended for five games for violating the National Basketball Association's (NBA) anti-drug program, the league said on Friday.

Smith, who won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award last season for his play off the bench, is recovering from offseason knee surgery and may not be fit for his team's season opener on October 30.

His suspension will begin with the first game of the 2013-14 NBA season for which he is eligible and physically able to play, the league said in a statement.

Taken with the 18th overall pick by New Orleans in the 2004 draft, Smith recorded career-highs in points (18.1) and rebounds (5.3) last season.

He signed a three-year $17.9 million deal with the Knicks in July.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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