Durant out until after break, Sabonis gets All-Star spot
By BRIAN MAHONEY
NEW YORK (AP) Kevin Durant will be out through the All-Star break because of a hamstring injury, sidelining the Brooklyn Nets star from a game for which he was chosen to serve as a captain.
Indiana's Domantas Sabonis was chosen by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace Durant, with Boston's Jayson Tatum elevated to the pool of starters for the March 7 game in Atlanta.
The Nets said Friday that after a routine follow-up MRI on Durant's left hamstring, it was determined that he needed additional recovery time.
That ends the first half of his impressive return from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon. He is averaging 29 points and 7.3 rebounds.
But he has been limited to only 19 games and missed nine of the last 10, first because of health and safety protocol reasons and then the hamstring.
It also means the Nets will have Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden on the court together for only six full games before the All-Star break.
Durant has missed Brooklyn's last six games. The Nets, who have won eight straight, have three more games before the break.
The Nets said the latest images provided a clearer picture of the hamstring, adding that they would confident Durant would return at full strength after the extra recovery time. He will continue to undergo rehabilitation and be reassessed after the break.
Durant was the leading vote-getter in the Eastern Conference. That made him a captain of one of the teams in the All-Star Game, and he's scheduled to select a team opposite LeBron James next Thursday. There was no immediate decision on whether the draft plans would change.
Sabonis is averaging career highs of 21.5 points and 5.7 assists while ranking fifth in the NBA with 11.7 rebounds per game.
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Updated February 26, 2021