For the second time in three seasons, injuries will prevent Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant from playing in the NBA’s annual All-Star Game, as The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that Durant will be out through the All-Star Break due to a left hamstring strain.
Durant, who sustained the injury on Feb. 13 in a victory over the Golden State Warriors, has been sidelined for the Nets’ last six games without a definitive timetable for his return. The 11-time All-Star has averaged 29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.4 blocks per game this season.
Indiana Pacers star big man Domantas Sabonis will replace Durant on the Eastern Conference All-Star team, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Sabonis, the son of Hall of Fame center Arvydas Sabonis, was an All-Star in the 2019-20 season as well. The 24-year-old has averaged 21.5 points, 11.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.0 steal per game in what’s been a career season.
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum will replace Durant as a starter in the 2021 All-Star Game due to rules stipulating that his replacement be from the same conference and same position group.
With Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo finishing the final fan voting with the second-highest vote total in the Eastern Conference (4,459,276), he’ll likely replace Durant as team captain for the 2021 NBA All-Star Draft.
However, the league has yet to decide on how to handle the East’s captaincy amid Durant’s absence.