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Hedo Turkoglu Could Still Earn a Spot on the All-Star Team

Although the Eastern Conference coaches didn't vote him into the All-Star game, Hedo Turkoglu still has a chance to make the East team, albeit under less-than-ideal circumstances.

Starting forward and leading vote-getter Kevin Garnett has missed the Celtics' last 4 games with a strained abdominal muscle, and coach Doc Rivers -- who will also coach the Eastern All-Star team -- doesn't see the need to rush him back into the lineup. Rivers may hold Garnett out of the All-Star game if Garnett doesn't improve.

In a more recent development, Wizards forward Caron Butler re-injured his hip flexor in a loss to the 76ers this evening and had to leave the game. Butler missed three games last week with a similar injury and his status for the rest of the pre-All-Star schedule is not yet known.

If Garnett or Butler aren't able to play, NBA Commissioner David Stern would select a replacement player. Turkoglu, as an Eastern forward having a career-year for a division-leading team, stands an excellent chance of receiving that nomination. If Garnett misses the game, Rivers would re-adjust the starting lineup to his liking.

Yesterday, Turkoglu told John Denton of Florida Today that he will to participate in All-Star weekend as a player or as a three-point shootout contestant if summoned.

This post summarizes reaction to Turkoglu's snub from some NBA analysts; additionally, the post includes a statistical comparison between Turkoglu and Joe Johnson, the Eastern All-Star with the least-impressive credentials this season. In a poll conducted last week, 90% of 3QC readers said Turkoglu's exclusion from the team was unfair; 10% said it was fair, even though he's putting up All-Star numbers; and 0% said it was fair and the notion that Turkoglu should be an All-Star is ridiculous.