Despite the various rumors that Steve Nash may be forced to retire due to the nerve root irritation in his back, head coach Mike D’Antoni on Tuesday stated that his point guard is doing everything he can to return back to the court.
“He’s 39, almost 40 years old. I think he’s looking at, ‘What am I going to do when I’m 50?’ But no [he’s not thinking of retiring],” D’Antoni said. “Now, whether he can get over this, we’ll see. We think he can. We hope he can. But there’s no talk of him sitting over there eating bon bons the rest of the way. No.”
In the preseason he had been dealing with an assortment of minor injuries ranging from a sore left ankle, tight quad, stiff neck and back issues that have followed him into the regular season. These ailments have limited Nash’s ability to play as he has only appeared in six games averaging 6.7 points with 4.8 assists in 22.6 minutes per game.
The 19-year veteran’s injuries have not only been a constant issue because of his age, but due to the fact that he is also dealing with the lingering nerve damage in his back that he initially suffered at the tail end of last year which forced him to miss the last eight games of the regular season and two playoff games.
The nerve damage coincided with hamstring and back issues that originally stemmed from Nash not fully recovering from the broken left leg that he suffered in the second game of the season when he collided with Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard.
D’Antoni said on Tuesday that Nash has been working out at “full bore” with Canadian doctor and his trainer, Rick Celebrini, over the past few days.
Through the injuries, Nash and Kobe Bryant have become closer and push each other to work harder to get back from their respective ailments.
“Steve and I have been extremely close through this process,” Bryant said. “That’s part of our job as teammates is to pick each other up and put them in position where he can still be extremely efficient and extremely successful.”
Whenever Nash does return, both he and the Los Angeles Lakers will have to monitor his health even more closely to help maintain it long term as it is going to be a constant theme for him this season.
Photo Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times