Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant out through All-Star break

The Brooklyn Nets announced Friday afternoon that star forward Kevin Durant will remain out until after the All-Star break due to a left hamstring strain he suffered earlier this month,

The team said in a release Friday that, after a follow-up MRI, Durant "will require an additional recovery period" that will keep him out through the All-Star break. which includes next month's All-Star Game in Atlanta.

"While we are confident that Durant will return at full strength, this extra recovery time will allow him to perform at the level at which he has been playing this season once he returns," the statement said.

Earlier this week, Nets coach Steve Nash had said he expected Durant to come back before the All-Star Break.

"We're just trying to monitor and be cautious," Nash said before the Nets beat the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday. "We definitely have kind of slowed things down in that respect: not putting any pressure on him, not trying to rush him back in any capacity and just make sure that we give him the right amount of time to be more than healed, to be strong and conditioned to come back to the team."

It was immediately unclear whether Durant, who was named a captain for next month's All-Star Game, would remain in charge of selecting players for one of the teams despite not playing in the game, as this is the first time one of the captains has been unable to play in the game since the league changed its format.

Durant has missed nine of Brooklyn's last 10 games -- three because of the NBA's health and safety protocols, after being pulled midway through Brooklyn's loss to the Toronto Raptors on Feb. 5 due to contact tracing with someone who had a positive test, and then the last six games after suffering a hamstring strain against the Golden State Warriors in a win on Feb. 13.

The Nets have won eight games in a row -- the longest current winning streak in the NBA -- and face the Dallas Mavericks on ABC in Brooklyn Saturday night.

After playing Dallas, the Nets have two more games before the break: in San Antonio against the Spurs on March 1, and in Houston against Harden's old team, the Rockets, on March 3.

Durant, 32, is averaging 29 points, 5.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game this season.