FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 file photo, Nashville Predators left wing Austin Watson plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit. Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson has been suspended without pay as part of the NHL’s substance abuse program. The NHL and NHL Players' Association announced Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 that Watson had been placed in Stage Two of the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program “for treatment related exclusively to his ongoing issues with alcohol abuse.” (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Predators' Watson suspended, in substance abuse program

January 29, 2019 - 5:14 pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson has been suspended without pay as part of the NHL's substance abuse program.

The NHL and NHL Players' Association announced Tuesday that Watson had been placed in Stage Two of the league's substance abuse and behavioral health program "for treatment related exclusively to his ongoing issues with alcohol abuse."

That means Watson is suspended without pay until program administrators clear him to return.

Watson already had served a suspension for the first 18 games of the season after pleading no contest to a domestic assault charge in July. Watson said in a Jan. 11 Instagram post that he'd been dealing with anxiety, depression and alcoholism since the age of 18. He said in the Instagram post that he was currently sober.

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