Durant (hamstring) out through All-Star break

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Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant will remain out until after the All-Star break due to a left hamstring strain he suffered earlier this month, the team announced Friday.

After a follow-up MRI, the Nets determined Durant “will require an additional recovery period” that will keep him out through the All-Star break, which includes next month’s All-Star Game in Atlanta.

“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.

Earlier this week, Nets coach Steve Nash had said he expected Durant to come back before the All-Star break.

“We’re just trying to monitor and be cautious,” Nash said before the Nets beat the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday. “We definitely have kind of slowed things down in that respect: not putting any pressure on him, not trying to rush him back in any capacity and just make sure that we give him the right amount of time to be more than healed, to be strong and conditioned to come back to the team.”

The NBA announced later Friday that Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis replaced Durant on the All-Star roster, while Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum — as the highest-ranking forward among East reserves — will replace him in the starting lineup.

As of late Friday afternoon, there was still no official word from the NBA as to whether Durant would still serve as a captain alongside Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. This is the first time since the NBA changed formats from East vs. West to having two captains choose teams that one of them was unable to participate in the game.

Durant has missed nine of Brooklyn’s past 10 games — three because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, after being pulled midway through Brooklyn’s loss to the Toronto Raptors on Feb. 5 due to contact tracing with someone who had a positive coronavirus test, and then the past six games after suffering a hamstring strain against the Golden State Warriors in a win on Feb. 13.

The Nets have won eight games in a row — the longest current winning streak in the NBA — and will face the Dallas Mavericks on ABC in Brooklyn on Saturday night.

After playing Dallas, the Nets have two more games before the break: in San Antonio against the Spurs on March 1, and in Houston against James Harden‘s old team, the Rockets, on March 3.

Durant, 32, is averaging 29 points, 5.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game this season.



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