Injured Booker won’t play in All-Star Game, Conley replaces

PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker won’t play in the NBA All-Star Game tomorrow because of a mild sprain in his left knee, opening up space for Utah’s Mike Conley to make his first All-Star appearance.

The Suns announced Booker’s injury on Friday. Conley will be making his first appearance in the NBA showcase in his 13th season.

Conley seemed surprised by the announcement that came about 48 hours before tomorrow’s (9am Brunei time) game. The point guard posted “Lol What just happened” in response to a congratulatory message from teammate Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Conley will all represent the Jazz in the All-Star Game.

Booker was hurt in the first quarter of a victory over Golden State on Thursday. He appeared to bump knees with Golden State’s Kent Bazemore and fell to the floor with a grimace on his face. He remained in the game and finished with 16 points.

Utah Jazz’s Mike Conley attempts to get a shot past Philadelphia 76ers’ Shake Milton during an NBA basketball game. PHOTO: AP

Booker was set to play in his second All-Star Game after he was put on the roster as an injury replacement for Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis.

Conley’s addition to the All-Star roster is a feel-good story for the veteran point guard. The 33-year-old has routinely been in the All-Star discussion for a decade but always was snubbed when rosters were announced.

He is averaging 16.1 points and 5.7 assists for the Jazz, who have the NBA’s best record at 27-9.

Conley joins teammates Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert as the Jazz’s third player in the game. Conley will also take Booker’s spot in Sunday’s three-point shooting contest.

The Brooklyn Nets also have three all-stars – James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. But Durant is injured and won’t play.