Veteran guard John Lucas was released Friday by the NBA's Houston Rockets after failing a drug test and has entered a drug treatment facility in Van Nuys, the team announced.
"(Lucas) has suffered a relapse of his drug problem, marking the second such incident since the implementation of the anti-drug agreement between the NBA and its players," team spokesman Jim Foley said. "Lucas has re-entered the ASAP Family Treatment Program at Van Nuys Community Hospital in Los Angeles, which will determine the course of his future treatment."
Lucas was treated for cocaine dependency at the center in December, 1984. The latest test was conducted after Lucas missed a Wednesday afternoon practice.
"It's sad," Rocket Coach Bill Fitch said Friday. "It's not something you can give an answer to. It's a situation you hope never comes up. You prepare for the worst, and that's what happened. Maybe people were too nice to him. It's a damned shame."
Club officials said Lucas would be allowed to sign with another NBA club if he completes his hospitalization and follows the prescribed treatment program, but he would not be allowed to rejoin the Rockets.
"We're out of the rehab business," Fitch said.