Charles Barkley returns to TNT Thursday

Feb. 18, 2009 at 9:05 PM

ATLANTA, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- NBA analyst Charles Barkley returns to the air on TNT Thursday following his recent drunken driving arrest in Phoenix, an incident he called "unacceptable."

He rejoins Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith on the "Inside the NBA" studio set before Thursday night's San Antonio at Detroit and Boston at Utah telecasts.

The former NBA star has not worked since he was charged by police in Scottsdale Dec. 31 with having a .149 blood-alcohol level.

"Getting a DUI is unacceptable in any way, shape or form," the 45-year-old Barkley told Johnson when the two spoke Wednesday. "I owe an apology to my family, to TNT, to T-Mobile and to my NBA family. I embarrassed all of the above. I have to use better judgment.

"I've gotten so much support. I've had hundreds of people, total strangers, who have told me to hang in there. You have no idea what that means to me. That means so much to me."

Barkley still faces possible prison time if convicted. He said he did not think his case would go to trial but added he "may be looking at potentially some jail time" and expects to go through alcohol counseling.

He said if counselors tell him he needs to stop drinking entirely, he's capable of do that.

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