Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was named Thursday to replace injured Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard in this weekend’s All-Star Game.
Lillard sustained a right groin injury in Wednesday night’s 111-104 loss at Memphis and was scheduled for an MRI on Thursday. He told reporters that he would not play in the All-Star Game or take part in the 3-Point Contest in Chicago this weekend.
“That’s something you look forward to, those festivities and having fun,” Lillard, 29, said. “But my health is first, and I knew right away. I’ll still be there and be a part of it, but I’m not going to play.”
Commissioner Adam Silver selected Booker, who will be making his first All-Star appearance, to take Lillard’s spot on Team LeBron. NBA rules require that the commissioner select a replacement player from the same conference.
Booker, 23, becomes the Suns’ first All-Star representative since Steve Nash in 2011-12. He is averaging 26.4 points (10th in the NBA), plus 6.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Lillard was selected to his fifth All-Star team. He is averaging 29.5 points (fourth in the NBA) and 7.9 assists per game.
He will still be visible on All-Star weekend, even if he won’t be in uniform.
The Athletic reported last week that Lillard, also known by his rap name Dame D.O.L.L.A., is scheduled to perform Saturday night during All-Star festivities.