NEW YORK (AP) — Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been added to the All-Star team in place of Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who needs surgery for a staph infection in his right elbow.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver selected Lillard to the West roster Sunday.
"I said that I didnt need the validation; it was a respect thing," Lillard told media prior to taking on the Rockets on Sunday. "I wasnt chosen. Some unfortunate things happened I hate to see that happen to Blake, I hate to see that happen to Kobe but this is the way it happened. Who am I to not be thankful for the opportunity?"
Lillard is averaging a career-high 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.49 steals this season. He is also averaging 6.3 assists.
It is the second All-Star nod for Lillard, who also played in the game last season, his second in the league. He joins teammate LaMarcus Aldridge on the roster.
West coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors will pick Griffin's replacement in the starting lineup.
The All-Star game is next Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
"I am thankful. I feel bad for Blake, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to be there," @Dame_Lillard told Yahoo Sports on being an AllStar— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) February 8, 2015
#Blazers Damian Lillard told me as recently as three days ago that he still hadn't gotten over his All-Star snub. Now he no longer has to.— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 8, 2015