The NBA announced on Thursday that Kevin Durant would be one of the team captains for the annual All-Star Game, which takes place on March 7. One day later, news surfaced that Durant would miss the game due to a hamstring strain. He will remain off the court through the all-star break.
"Well, it sucks to not have Kevin," Nets coach Steve Nash said, per ESPN. "He's an amazing, amazing basketball player. And, anytime you have the Lamborghini in the garage, it's meant to be on the road. So, we're all disappointed." Nash previously said that Durant would be back for a game prior to the break, but an MRI on the injured left hamstring revealed that the Nets star would be out for longer than expected.
"I just think the second round of imaging when there was less bleeding, it was more clear to just be cautious," Nash continued. "We'll monitor him appropriately and make sure we get him back playing at the level he was playing at when he went out. Part of it is Mother Nature, and just figuring out the course of rehab and then ramping him back up when he is healthy enough so that he doesn't come back prematurely."
Since returning from a torn Achilles, Durant has well while on the court. He has appeared in 19 games and averaged more than 50% on two-pointers. Though he has only played in seven games with teammates Kyrie Irving and James Harden.
Durant has missed nine of the last 10 games on the Nets' schedule. He was pulled from the court during a matchup against the Raptors due to COVID-19 exposure. He missed three games due to the league's health and safety protocols. He then missed another six after suffering the hamstring injury against the Warriors. Now he will miss the final three games before the All-Star Break.
With Durant out of the lineup, the NBA made necessary roster changes. Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis replaced Durant on the All-Star Team. Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was added to the pool of starters. Though ESPN reports that the league has yet to clarify whether Durant will remain one of the two captains.
The annual All-Star Game will take place on March 7 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, home of the Hawks. Coverage will begin on TNT at 5 p.m. ET, and the game will start at 8 p.m. ET. Prior to tip-off, the Skills Challenge and the 3-Point Contest will take place. The Slam Dunk contest will make up the halftime period.