LOS ANGELES – It sounds like it’s going to be the same story of battling through injuries for Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash.
The 39-year-old exited at halftime during Sunday’s game due his back flaring up in the first half, which he scored just two points on 0-of-3 shooting from the field including going 2-of-2 from the free throw line and dishing out three assists.
“The pain is always there, it’s not much of a concern,” Nash said. “It’s just when you’re so limited and you’re limping, you’re trying to get off your left leg the whole time, then you just can’t be effective and you’re making it worse. I tried to play through it, but to what diminishing returns.”
Nash had been dealing with back issues prior to last week’s road trip, but felt he was able to play through until it all came to a head on Sunday night.
“I don’t think it was bad enough against Houston to not play. I had felt for a few days before that,” Nash said. “I am just trying to figure it out. I am trying to play through it, but at the same time be smart about it. I am trying to overcome what I can and it has just taken a turn for the worst. I am going to see the doc(tor) tomorrow and see what he advises.”
This latest setback for Nash was difficult for him to delve into detail as it has been a merry-go-round of injuries for him this season.
“I hesitate to even talk about it now because it’s probably not a good time, I’m feeling a little emotional, but it’s hard,” Nash said. “I really want to play and I really want to play the way I’m accustomed to playing, and to be so limited is frustrating. And also to not know where a clean-ish bill of health is a little daunting too.”
The call to sit him out for second half was head coach Mike D’Antoni’s as his concern for his point guard’s health outweighed any comeback attempt against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Lakers eventual 113-90 loss.
“I’m concerned,” D’Antoni said. “He was struggling physically tonight, you could just see it on his face and that’s why I took him out. We shut him down more or less and he was struggling.”
“It’s tough on him more than anybody. He wants in the worst way to be able to perform and have a good year. He’s doing everything he can do. When you watch him and watch him struggle, it’s not fun for anybody.”
As for if he believes Nash will be able to fully recover from the back injury, D’Antoni voiced uncertainty and he is just hoping his longtime point guard can get past this latest setback.
“I can’t say. I’m hoping like everyone else is,” D’Antoni said. “I think he needs to see the doctor and they need to talk as well as with Gary. They will probably come up with a solution for whatever it is and I don’t know what that is.”
It was also hard on Steve Blake to see his fellow teammate go down with another injury, and he is hopeful that Nash will be able to return shortly.
“I hate to see him struggling like that with injuries,” Blake said. “I’m going to pray for him, and hopefully we can get him back.”
Pau Gasol also voiced a similar concern over his teammate’s back injury this early on in this season.
I’m concerned because he is my teammate,” Gasol said. “He is a guy who can really help us, because we need guys who can create shots for other people and make it easier for other guys. He is a great playmaker, but unfortunately if your not healthy no matter who are you, your are not going to be able to do what you do.”
Gasol was displeased with the situation entirely, as this preseason and regular season Nash has been dealing with a variety of injuries that included a sore left ankle, stiff neck and quad issues. This is also to go along with the lingering nerve damage that he still feels from the broken leg he suffered in the second game of last season.
“It’s just upsetting that he is going to through this type of injury again,” Gasol said.
Photo Credit: Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images