Sabonis replaces Durant in All-Star game, Tatum starts

Sabonis replaces Durant in All-Star game, Tatum starts

Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis will replace Kevin Durant in the NBA All-Star Game, after the Brooklyn Nets confirmed he will miss the contest with a hamstring injury.

The Nets announced on Friday Durant will not return from his left hamstring strain before the All-Star break, with that decision being made following a new MRI exam on the injury.

The NBA confirmed soon after that Sabonis, 24, would be named Durant’s replacement, with the Pacers forward set to make his second successive All-Star appearance.

Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis (AP image)

Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis has been named as Durant’s replacement for the All-Star Game

It was also confirmed Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum will take Durant’s place as a starter in the game, which is slated for March 7 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Having topped the All-Star voting process in the East, Durant was set to go up against LeBron James as a team captain, and it remains unclear how the NBA will go about selecting his replacement in that regard.

Durant has missed the Nets’ past six games. Friday’s determination means he will also sit out the next three prior to the break, which begins on March 5.

“The latest images provided a clearer picture of the hamstring and while we are confident that Durant will return at full strength, this extra recovery time will allow him to perform at the level at which he has been playing this season once he returns,” the Nets said in a statement.

“Durant will continue to undergo rehabilitation and will be re-assessed following the break.”

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (AP image)

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum will replace Durant as a starter in the All-Star Game

The Nets begin play after the All-Star break on March 11 against the Boston Celtics.

Durant, 32, is averaging 29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 19 games this season after missing all of 2019-20 due to recovery from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

Sabonis, who is averaging a career highs in points (21.5) and assists (5.7) this season, along with 11.7 rebounds per-game in 30 appearances, was chosen as Durant’s replacement by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

Boston’s Tatum will be an All-Star starter for the first time by virtue of being the player in Durant’s position and conference with the next most votes.

Tatum, 22, is averaging a career-high 25.6 points per-game this season, and also makes the All-Star Game for a second successive season.

James, and Durant’s replacement as captain will draft the teams for the All-Star Game on Thursday March 4.

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