<
>

Johnson to replace Kidd in All-Star Game

The New Jersey Nets have said that Jason Kidd will miss the next two games with a lower back strain, and his absence will stretch through the All-Star break.

On Wednesday, the NBA announced Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson would replace Kidd on the Eastern Conference roster in the
All-Star Game. Johnson is the Hawks' first All-Star since Shareef Abrur-Rahim in 2002.

Johnson is averaging 25.1 points and 4.3 assists per game for the Hawks.

"I found out this morning on the bus going to the
shootaround,'' Johnson said Wednesday. "Our [general manager],
Billy Knight, got a call and he told me the news. It's my first
All-Star game, so I'm definitely going to be excited and anxious to
get out there and play."

Kidd had played in all 52 games this season for the Nets
(25-27), a feat matched only by guard Vince Carter, and has
averaged 36.6 minutes.

Kidd had 10 points and nine rebounds Saturday as the Nets
extended their winning streak to three by beating the Orlando
Magic.

He was replaced late in the third quarter by Marcus Williams,
who took control of the game, finishing with 12 points and seven
assists. Kidd saw some action in the fourth quarter.

Kidd is averaging 14.3 points, eight rebounds and 8.7 assists
this season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.