The Denver Nuggets excused center Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen indefinitely from all team-related activities on Thursday, hours after sheriff’s deputies searched his home in connection with an Internet Crimes Against Children investigation.
The Nuggets announced the move before they took the floor for Game 6 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Denver won the game 113-96 to force a decisive Game 7 Saturday night at Staples Center.
Douglas County (Colo.) sheriff’s deputies conducted a search of Andersen’s Larkspur home three months after receiving information from a law enforcement agency in California.
Douglas County Sheriff’s spokesman Ron Hanavan confirmed the search but did not provide details. No warrant has been issued for Andersen’s arrest, but property was seized from the residence, which Andersen appears to share with at least one other occupant, according to records obtained by the Denver Post.
“For me right now, I think I’m at a stage where I don’t know enough information,” Nuggets coach George Karl said before Thursday’s game. “I think we all were advised probably not to talk about it until we know the information. The only thing I will say is I trust Chris. In my years with him, he’s been fantastic. I think he’s really grown as a person. We’re going to support him and stand by him.”
Andersen, 33, averaged 5.3 points and 1.4 blocks per game in 32 games this season but has not played in the postseason as Denver has turned to a younger crop of frontcourt players.
In 2006, Andersen was expelled from the NBA after his positive test for a banned substance was deemed to fall under the league’s “drug abuse” category. He returned to the league in 2008 and has played the past four seasons in Denver, where he has become a fan favorite. He has been actively involved with community service during his time with the Nuggets and has helped raise money for the Mount Saint Vincent children’s home and the Alliance for Choice in Education.