Kobe Bryant, although he continues to be a fan favorite and was voted on to the Western Conference All-Star team, will not be able to compete in the NBA All-Star game in New Orleans this weekend.
He has only played six games this year after recovering from an Achilles injury, and then injuring his right knee upon returning to the court. Bryant has been sidelined since December 17th, and will be reevaluated following the All-Star break, with no clear timetable for him to return to the Lakers' lineup.
Bryant finished second among Western Conference back-court players in the fan vote, with a total of about 988,000 votes. It has been reported that he is likely to be replaced by James Harden of the Houston Rockets. He finished in fifth place in the fan voting with about 470,000 votes, behind Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, and Jeremy Lin.
Harden, 24 years old, would be making his second All-Star Game appearance, and this would mark his first time as a starter. Harden is averaging 23.9 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game in his fifth NBA season. In addition to James Harden, the starting lineup of the Western Conference team will consist of Stephen Curry, Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, and Clippers forward Blake Griffin.
While being led by their star in James Harden, the Rockets have won seven games in a row and are 36-17 at the break, good enough for third in the Western Conference playoff standings.
Serious injuries have continued to plague the veteran stars of the NBA, and it was also announced recently that Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade will likely miss out on the All-Star game because of multiple injuries, and most recently was diagnosed with foot drop, giving him an inability to lift the front part of his foot.
At the age of 35, Kobe Bryant may need to start thinking about retirement soon, and after an incredibly successful career with the Los Angeles Lakers, his best days seem to be behind him. He made his debut this season on December 8th, but shortly after he was injured, and has been prevented from playing since.
Since the injury to their star player Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have struggled greatly, and are not in good shape in the Western Conference.
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