Forward has yet to play this season

Updated: February 17, 2004, 11:56 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento Kings activated Chris Webber from the injured list Monday, but the star forward will have to serve an NBA suspension before he can return to the lineup.

The Sacramento Bee reported Monday that the NBA will suspend Webber for eight games without pay for lying to a federal grand jury and for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Webber, a five-time All-Star, was the Kings' leader in scoring, rebounding and assists last season. He hasn't played since tearing cartilage in his left knee during the second round of last season's playoffs, and he had extensive offseason surgery.

Webber faces the suspension after pleading guilty last July to a charge of criminal contempt as part of a plea bargain. He had been charged with lying to a grand jury about his relationship with Ed Martin, a University of Michigan booster who claimed he loaned $616,000 to Webber.

Webber's sentence was deferred for two years in September and he was ordered to perform community service.

The Kings compiled an NBA-best 37-13 record leading up to the All-Star break despite Webber's absence. Brad Miller, acquired from Indiana in an offseason trade, has fit seamlessly into Webber's spot in the Kings' offense, while fellow All-Star Peja Stojakovic is the NBA's third-leading scorer.

Miller could miss time after spraining his right foot Sunday in the All-Star game. Tests on Monday revealed no breaks or tears, but the Kings said there is no timetable for his return.

Webber has been practicing with the Kings for several weeks, but he wasn't healthy enough to appear in games until recently. He averaged 23.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists for the Kings last season before suffering a left knee injury in the Western Conference semifinals against the Dallas Mavericks.

He had surgery last June and has missed the first 50 games this season.

To make room for Webber on the roster, the Kings placed forward Lawrence Funderburke back on the injured list. Funderburke has not played all season because of an injured heel.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.

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