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OKC Thunder: Can Russell Westbrook keep NBA All-Star streak alive?

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY Published: January 19, 2014

The unfortunate knee injury Russell Westbrook sustained last spring is still having residual effects now.

Not only is the Thunder All-Star point guard still missing games.

But the Thunder All-Star point guard might not be an All-Star point guard this year.

It would snap a three-year run of All-Star appearances by Westbrook.

Westbrook has played in only 25 games this season, and he might not play another game before the All-Star break if the team's timeline for his return from a third knee surgery holds true.

Westbrook is averaging 21.3 points, six rebounds and seven assists in those contests. But the Western Conference coaches who select the reserves might feel other guards are more deserving of a spot in the annual showcase due to them being in the lineup.

Even if Westbrook returns earlier than expected, the Thunder would have to determine whether it's in the player or the team's best interest for Westbrook to play in a glorified pick-up game.

The starters for both conferences will be announced Thursday night, while the reserves will be announced Jan. 30.

USA TODAY last week included Westbrook on its roster of the 12 most deserving players in the West. But if the coaches don't see it the same way, several players are angling to step in as first-time All-Stars.

Denver point guard Ty Lawson (18 points, 3.5 rebounds, 8.8 assists) and Memphis point guard Mike Conley Jr. (18.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 6.5 assists) are perhaps the two leading candidates as potential replacements.

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