DENVER (AP) - Denver Nuggets reserve center Chris “Birdman” Andersen was excused indefinitely from all team-related activities after sheriff’s deputies searched his home Thursday as part of an investigation by the department’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit.
The team announced its decision shortly before the Nuggets faced the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of their playoff series. The team said Anderson was excused “as he deals with the reported investigation” and declined further comment.
The 10th-year pro hasn’t played in the postseason after averaging 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds during the regular season.
Douglas County Sheriff’s spokesman Ron Hanavan confirmed that the search took place. Andersen has not been arrested and Hanavan said no arrest warrant has been issued.
The department began investigating Andersen in February after receiving information from a law enforcement agency in California. Hanavan declined to release details, including the nature of any pending charges, citing an ongoing investigation. He said they’re asking that the case, including the search warrant, be sealed.
Andersen answered the door at his Larkspur, Colo., home, about 40 miles south of Denver, and let deputies in, said Deborah Sherman, another sheriff’s spokesperson.
“He did cooperate. He spoke with deputies,” Sherman said.
The unit investigating Andersen investigates child porn, Internet luring, child predators and child pornography.
The sheriff’s office said it recovered property from Andersen’s home that investigators believe is connected with the case. Sherman said items typically seized by the unit include computers, hard drives, and thumb drives, though she said she could not provide details on what items were seized from Andersen’s home, citing the ongoing investigation.
An arrest is not imminent, Sherman said, saying that it typically takes several weeks to a month for investigators to collect evidence from the seized items.
Mark Bryant, who serves as Andersen’s agent and attorney, said: “At this time, I respect the process and I have no further comment to protect the integrity of everyone involved. We’ll proceed from there.”
A message left at Andersen’s home wasn’t immediately returned.
“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 night’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 is in his seventh season in Denver, although his playing time dropped dramatically this season as young players gobbled up more minutes.
“He’s been dealt a bad hand by me,” Karl said. “For a guy that’s played great basketball for me and the Nuggets over the years, (he’s) kind of been phased out because of the youth movement, and in the middle of the season is not always fair. I personally think Bird is a very good basketball player, can play for many NBA teams. He could play for us someday, if the situation would open itself up again.”