Published May 10, 2012
DENVER – Denver Nuggets reserve center Chris "Birdman" Andersen has been excused indefinitely from all team-related activities after Douglas County sheriff's deputies searched his home Thursday as part of an investigation by the department's Internet Crimes Against Children unit.
So, Andersen won't be on the bench when the Nuggets face the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of their playoff series Thursday night.
The team issued a statement saying Andersen has been "excused from all team-related activities indefinitely 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.
Sheriff's spokesman Ron Hanavan confirmed that the search took place Thursday. 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 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.
Deputies requested that the search warrant application filed in court be sealed because of the ongoing investigation.
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 Thursday to The Associated Press.
Andersen is in his 10th year in the NBA and his seventh season in Denver, although his playing time dropped dramatically this season as young players gobbled up more minutes.
Andersen has a history of helping out charities during his time in Denver and New Orleans, where he played from 2004-08. According to the Nuggets' media guide, Andersen raised money for Mount Saint Vincent, a home for troubled and abused children, and was honored at the home's 2009 Silver Bell Ball. He's also involved with Alliance for Choice in Education, which provides scholarships for low-income families to use in private schools.
His middle name is Claus, and he dressed up as Santa to raise money for ACE in 2009, according to his media guide bio. He also helped with hunger initiatives while with the Hornets.
With his colorful tattoos and high-flying, shot-blocking act, Andersen has long been a favorite with the fans in the Mile High City.
Andersen began his career in Denver in 2001, before bolting to New Orleans three seasons later. He had a breakout season with the Hornets in 2004-05, only to have his career derailed by drugs. He was kicked out of the NBA on Jan. 27, 2006, for violating the league's drug policy.
Following a ban that lasted more than two years, Andersen returned to New Orleans late in 2008, playing in five games and blocking four shots.
Andersen then rejoined Denver for the 2008-09 season, providing a spark off the bench and swatting 175 shots in the regular season. His play around the rim helped the Nuggets make a run to the Western Conference finals, where they fell to the Lakers in six games.
Andersen parlayed that big season into a five-year deal he signed with Denver in July 2009.
AP Sports Writers Pat Graham and Arnie Stapleton contributed to this report.