MORE REHAB FOR GRIFFIN
By FRED KERBER
Eddie Griffin, with history of substance abuse, left Nets yesterday and returned to Houston to seek "additional help' for unspecified problem, the team said.
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January 29, 2004 -- ORLANDO - Four days after an incident at a Rutherford, N.J., hotel - during which, police said, they responded to calls from alarmed guests concerning Eddie Griffin going to the wrong room - the troubled Net forward, who has undergone treatment for emotional problems and substance abuse, told the team he was seeking "additional help" for an unspecified problem.
"Eddie Griffin has informed us he's going back to Houston for additional help, rehab. There's no timetable at all for his return," Net senior vice president of basketball operations Ed Stefanski said yesterday.
"He doesn't feel he's ready for the rigors of the NBA life right now, so he's going back."
Stefanski said the sudden turn of events was Griffin's decision. There is heavy speculation he will not play for the Nets this season.
Griffin is a free agent at the end of the year. He remains a member of the team and has not been released.
Griffin flew here with the team following Tuesday's victory in Philadelphia. Following a meeting with Stefanski, he left to return to Houston, where he has been treated for clinical depression and substance abuse at the Menninger clinic.
Teammates were told before a late-afternoon practice in preparation for Game 2 of the Lawrence Frank regime tonight against the Magic.
"There's a lot going on that he has to face off the court," said Jason Kidd. "As a family member, we want to make sure he gets everything situated."
Griffin, 21, has a long history of emotional and legal issues. Nine days ago, he was convicted of a misdemeanor marijuana-possession charge in Houston. He still faces a felony assault charge that will be heard Feb. 13, when sentencing on the pot rap also is set.
His latest run-in occurred Saturday into early Sunday. Initial reports indicated a confusing mix-up at the Renaissance Hotel, not far from the Meadowlands - but police were summoned.
"He was invited by a girl up to a party in the hotel," said Sgt. Patrick Feliciano of the Rutherford Police Department's Detective Bureau.
"Somehow, he went to the wrong room, was knocking on the door and frightened the guest who called police. The person didn't know who he was."
Officers responded but there was no arrest made, Feliciano said.
Griffin, stemming from his past legal woes, remains under a court-ordered curfew where he is closely monitored through telephone calls. A Houston court eased the restrictions if Griffin were traveling with the Nets, but he was still bound on off days.
"Eddie Griffin obviously is an NBA talent, he's a quality person . . . but at this point the most important thing is Eddie Griffin rehabilitating himself," Frank said.
"In the NBA, where there's so much time spent off the court alone, you really have to have a lot of self discipline, and it's hard especially as a 21-year-old kid."
Griffin, who was suspended and then waived by the Rockets, signed a one-year deal worth $371,000 for the Nets.