Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge will start for the Western Conference in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, the league announced Saturday.
Western Conference coach Steve Kerr initially selected Kevin Durant to start in place of injured New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, according to multiple reports, before deciding to give the spot to Aldridge. Davis withdrew from the game earlier this week as he continues to recover from a shoulder sprain.
Aldridge is the third reserve player to make the West’s starting lineup. Houston Rockets guard James Harden replaced injured Lakers star Kobe Bryant as a starter and Golden State Warrior forward Klay Thompson is taking over injured Clippers standout Blake Griffin’s starting spot.
Aldridge is averaging 23.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game for the Trail Blazers
Durant reportedly said he expected to start the game, but said his playing time could be limited because of nagging injuries. A toe injury forced him to miss a game against the Pelicans on Feb. 4 and a right ankle sprain forced him out of six games in December. He also missed the first 17 games of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a fracture in his right foot. Soreness in the foot has been an issue for him since his return.
Durant, the reigning NBA most valuable player, is averaging 25.9 points per game this season.
The 2015 NBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden in New York will be shown on TNT at 8:30 p.m. EST Sunday.