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Pointguard says he will fight his suspension news services

Los Angeles, Ca. -- Los Angeles Clippers rookie and point guardr Shaun Livingston has been suspended 10 days for violating basketball's new drug policy, the first player publicly identified under the National Basketball League's tougher rules.

The suspension begins Saturday when Los Angeles plays the San Antonio Spurs at home, the commissioner's office said Sunday.

Under the new policy that took effect last month, steroids and other performance-enchancing substances are the only drugs to draw a 10-day suspension. Basketball officials and the players' union agreed they would not disclose the exact substance for which a player tests positive.

Livingston said he was surprised by the suspension, adding that he uses milkshakes and multivitamins to build his energy -- and blaming the positive test on something he bought over the counter.

"I'm going to fight it, because I've never taken steroids or anything like that," said Livingston, who was drafted by the Clippers in 2004 and has struggled with several injuries during his first year in the league.

The union can appeal the suspension to arbitrator Shyam Das, according to union general counsel G. William Hunter. But unlike other suspensions, it will not be held up pending an appeal. A decision had not yet been made, Weiner said Sunday night.

"The way the system is, you're guilty until proven innocent," Livingston's agent, Henry Thomas, told The LA Times. "If anyone's going to test positive for steroids, it's not going to be Shaun Livingston."

Livingston , 19, who shot .397 with 4.4 assists in 30 games for the Clippers this season, said he was drug tested while he was in Charlotte. He was to be the Clippers' starting point guard.

Because the suspension is without pay, Livingston will lose $4,482 of his $3,675,355 salary this year.

LA Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor said the team would have no comment on the suspension.

"It's suprising," manager Elgin Baylor said. "That's all I have to say on that."

Baylor conceded, however, that it was frustrating to have to make a lineup change again after being forced to try several different lineups this season because of injuries.

"Livingston had come in here and distributed the ball," Baylor said. "Now we've just got to make adjustments, and we will."

Livingston learned of the positive test result early Thursday and participated in a workout at Staples Center later in the day. He said he had not been told what banned substance was detected.

He insisted, however, that he has never used steroids.

"I know I did nothing incorrect. ... I take stuff I buy over the counter. Multivitamins, protein shakes, muscle relaxants. That kind of stuff," Livingston said.
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