Iverson joins Nash on West sideline

2/17/2007 - NBA Allen Iverson Denver Nuggets + more

DENVER -- Allen Iverson will skip the All-Star Game because
of a sprained right ankle that has bothered him for two weeks.

Allen Iverson Iverson

Iverson was chosen as a reserve to the Western Conference squad
for Sunday's game in Las Vegas, but the Denver Nuggets guard has
missed seven of his last eight games after spraining his right
ankle Jan. 29. The eight-time All-Star aggravated the injury Feb. 6
against New Orleans.

"Here is a guy who has always played with injuries and always
played banged up. So if he's not able to play in the All-Star Game
he must be really hurt," teammate Marcus Camby said Tuesday.

More than being a tough guy, Camby suggested, Iverson is a team

"I think we need him more in Denver than they need him in Las
Vegas," Camby said. "We want him to come back healthy in the
second half of the season. It is going to be huge for us. The
schedule isn't in our favor. We have a lot of road games."

The showcase game will now be missing two of the league's
premier guards. Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns withdrew Monday
because of a shoulder inflammation.

Seattle's Ray Allen and Utah's Mehmet Okur were
chosen Tuesday by commissioner David Stern as injury replacements for the game.

Also Tuesday, the Nets said star point guard Jason Kidd will
miss the next two games because of a back strain. The Nets had no
information on whether he'll play in Las Vegas.

Iverson won't play against Minnesota on Wednesday night in the
Nuggets' last game before the All-Star break. He hopes to return
Feb. 20 at San Antonio when the regular season resumes.

Since coming to Denver in a Dec. 19 trade with the Philadelphia
76ers, Iverson has only played five games with Camby and Carmelo Anthony, the league's leading scorer, who was selected by
Stern last week as an injury replacement for the
West All-Stars.

Iverson has averaged 26.8 points and 7.8 assists in 20 games for
the Nuggets since being acquired from the 76ers on Dec. 19. For the
year, his 28.7-point scoring average is tied for third in the league.

Iverson wasn't at practice Tuesday but issued a statement
through the team.

"I'm very disappointed that I can't play right now," Iverson
said. "I was really looking forward to representing the Nuggets in
my first All-Star Game with the West. However, I need to make sure
my ankle is 100 percent for the stretch run."

Iverson, who earned All-Star MVP honors at the 2001 and 2005
games, was selected as a starter by fans seven times during his
decade in Philadelphia.

"I want to thank the Western Conference coaches for selecting
me and my teammates and coaching staff for putting me in a position
to succeed," he said. "I couldn't have made it without them. I
also want to thank all the fans who have supported me and that
voted for me as a starter. I wish I could play for you all."

Iverson began thinking about missing the All-Star Game after his
return to the lineup Feb. 6, when he admittedly rushed back too
soon to help his struggling team. He couldn't drive past his man,
however, and ended up shooting jumpers all night in an overtime
loss to Charlotte.

"I couldn't be me on the basketball court," he said that