Forward/center Andersen bolts Hornets to return to Denver

DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets brought back Chris Andersen, signing the frontcourt player known as "Birdman" on Thursday.

Andersen was reinstated by the NBA in early March after being kicked out on Jan. 27, 2006, for violating the league's drug policy.

The 6-foot-10, 228-pound Andersen played in five games for the New Orleans Hornets last season, averaging 1.2 points and 1.8 rebounds a game.

He is a high-energy player, something the Nuggets could use after losing Eduardo Najera to free agency and trading center Marcus Camby to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Andersen began his career with the Nuggets after being called up from the NBA Development League in 2001. He played three seasons for Denver before bolting for New Orleans.

While with New Orleans during the 2005-06 season, Andersen averaged 5 points a game, before becoming the first player thrown out for drugs since Stanley Roberts in 1999.

The NBA and the players' union aren't allowed to comment on the specifics of a drug test, but according to the collective bargaining agreement, a player can only be disqualified for a fourth positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, or a first positive test for "drugs of abuse."

Andersen had not previously been suspended for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

The drugs on the "drugs of abuse" list are amphetamines and its analogs, which include methamphetamine; cocaine; LSD; opiates, including heroin, codeine and morphine; and PCP.