Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant has been playing at an All-Star level this season, but he reportedly will not get to play in the actual game because of a knee injury.
During TNT's broadcast of Tuesday's contest between the Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, Chris Haynes reported that Durant is expected to be sidelined through the All-Star Game. Durant has not played since a Jan. 15 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
The NBA announced the latest update in fan voting for the All-Star Game, and Durant leads Eastern Conference forwards ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Jayson Tatum.
He is averaging 29.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game behind 52.0 percent shooting from the field and 37.2 percent shooting from deep. While time away from the court will cost him in any award voting, those types of numbers across an entire season could put him in MVP discussions.
Of more note for the Nets is his overall availability heading into the stretch run of the season.
The All-Star Game is scheduled for Feb. 20 in Cleveland, meaning the Nets will be without Durant for more than a month as they battle for positioning in the Eastern Conference standings. Considering Kyrie Irving is not eligible to play home games because he remains unvaccinated against COVID-19, the Nets are missing plenty of firepower on a consistent basis.
That leaves James Harden by himself in terms of the trio of superstar players whenever the team is at home and also puts more pressure on the role players.
Still, the Nets entered Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers tied with the Chicago Bulls at 29-17 for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
When fully healthy, it will be difficult for any team in the East to eliminate a team with three of the best players in the league on the floor, especially one that has managed to compete for the top seed in the conference with so much attrition.
While Durant won't be on the floor for the All-Star Game, it is far more important for Brooklyn that he is ready to go closer to playoff time.