Lakers’ Steve Nash on slow road back to health

first_img“It’s inevitable,” said Nash, who will turn 40 in February. “People look at the success of my career and wonder if I still have the motivation just to get out on the court. But I do.”Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban parted ways with Nash after the 2003-04 season because he had thought Nash’s deeply rooted back problems would eventually cause his body soon to break down. But Nash proved otherwise in eight seasons in Phoenix Suns, where he won two MVP awards. His fourth-place standing on the NBA’s all-time leaders in assists should secure him a future Hall-of-Fame nod. “When we got him in Phoenix, when he was 30 or 31, they said he was done,” said D’Antoni, who coached Nash with the Suns in four of his eight seasons there. “That was almost 10 years ago. He was doing something right.”That included lying on his back along the baseline anytime he wasn’t playing.“We laughed at him a little bit,” D’Antoni joked. “It was kind of odd. But he’s Canadian so that’s OK.”Should Nash play at any point this season, it’s likely he will climb up the assists list. He’s compiled 10,278 assists in 1,208 games through 18 seasons, leaving him 57 shy of passing Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson for the No. 3 spot.“He’s an all-time great and he’s a guy that did it the right way,” Jackson said. “Hopefully he comes back quickly and healthy, He’s a guy that I have a tremendous amount of respect for.”Healing processLakers analyst Stu Lantz missed Friday’s telecast because of laryngitis stemming from a head cold, marking the second consecutive game he missed because of ailments.James Worthy replaced Lantz at TWC SportsNet’s commentator for the Lakers-Warriors game. Lantz is expected to return for the Lakers-Kings game. “He’s frustrated. I’m sure he wants to play,” D’Antoni said. “He just has to bite his tongue a little bit, stay upbeat and hopefully the process works itself out.”Nash left the second half of the Lakers’ loss Nov. 10 against Minnesota after experiencing additional pain in his back stemmed from nerve issues in his left hamstring and surgically repaired left leg. Nash has averaged only 6.7 points on 26.1 percent shooting in 22.5 minutes through six games and sat out twice on the second night of back-to-backs in hopes of staying healthy. He’s also only a season removed from missing a combined 32 games because of a fractured left leg and back and hamstring issues.Nash reported only “some improvement” after having an epidural shot Nov. 12 and spending the last week improving his core strength. He also had three epidural shots during the Lakers’ first-round loss to San Antonio last season. But they made little impact and Nash missed the Lakers’ last two playoff games.“When I’m in alignment and moving properly, it really takes a lot of pressure off the nerve,” Nash said. “But as you take contact and you are pounding and changing directions and there is compressive contortion on your spine, then your body compensates.”That’s why the 39-year-old guard understands the general public arguing he should retire. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Although Steve Nash only described the recovery process surrounding nerve pain in his back as “a little bit better,” that hasn’t made him consider retirement.“I don’t know where that came from. For me, I realize I have about 18 months of basketball,” said Nash, whose contract with the Lakers worth $19 million ends after the 2014-15 season. “I don’t want to give in too soon. I want to make the most of this opportunity to play if I can.”After he sits out when the Lakers host Sacramento on Sunday at Staples Center, Nash will travel to Vancouver with personal trainer Rick Celebrini during the Lakers’ trip next week to Washington (Nov. 26), Brooklyn (Nov. 27) and Detroit (Nov. 29). Both Nash and the Lakers will return to Los Angeles next weekend before hosting the Portland Trail Blazers on Dec. 1 at Staples Center.Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he won’t require Nash to practice before returning, making it possible he could play against Portland. But in what D’Antoni called the “best-case scenario,” the Lakers have four days before playing Dec. 6 in Sacramento. The Lakers will likely take off Dec. 2, giving Nash potentially three practice days before returning.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *