Minnesota's Kevin Love, the NBA's leading rebounder, was named Friday to replace Chinese star Yao Ming on the Western Conference squad for the NBA All-Star Game.
NBA commissioner David Stern appointed Love to the West roster for the February 20 showdown against the Eastern Conference at Los Angeles because Yao will miss the game because of an injury.
Houston Rockets giant Yao has played only five games this season because of a left ankle injury that ended his season in November. Despite his short season, Yao was voted an All-Star starter by fans in balloting that ended last month.
Love averages 21.4 points and an NBA-best 15.5 rebounds a game for the Timberwolves and has a 43.9 percent accuracy rate from the field, but Minnesota has an 11-37 record this season.
While Stern names injury replacements to the All-Star lineup, it will be West coach Gregg Popovich of NBA overall leader San Antonio who decides which player will replace Yao in the West starting lineup for the All-Star Game.