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Bucks officials giving Sanders advice following latest setback with marijuana suspension

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MILWAUKEE — Larry Sanders is hearing from team officials following his five-game suspension for a third positive marijuana test.

Sanders, who has played in only 23 games due to injuries after signing a four-year, $44 million extension in the offseason, was penalized for violating the NBA/NBPA drug program.

"Any young man that makes it to this level, there's a very high level of responsibility you have to take on," coach Larry Drew said before the Bucks played the Toronto Raptors.

Sanders has talked with Drew, general manager John Hammond and assistant general manager David Morway.

"He hears a lot of voices," Drew said.

Sanders apologized to the team and fans on Friday.

Later that day in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and nba.com in Chicago, Sanders defended his use of marijuana.

"It's something I feel strongly about, just to let you know something personal about me," Sanders said at the United Center. "I will deal with the consequences from it. It's a banned substance in my league. But I believe in marijuana and the medical side of it. I know what it is if I'm going to use it."

Drew said he offered Sanders "some advice that probably could help, or maybe it won't."

"I try to take off my coaching hat and try to be more of a father figure than anything," Drew said.

Sanders is out for the season with right orbital fracture he sustained when he was inadvertently elbowed by Houston's James Harden on Feb. 8.

"We all want what's best for him," Drew said. "We'll be by his side until he gets through all of this."

Sanders missed eight weeks after tearing a ligament in his right thumb during a bar brawl on Nov. 3 in Milwaukee. In 23 games, he averaged 7.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.

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