In an injury-plagued season, Thursday’s practice was a step forward for the Los Angeles Lakers as their trio of injured point guards returned to the court, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Thursday saw Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmar each take part in their first practice in the last couple of weeks . Although all three point guards returned to the floor on Thursday, they are all ruled out for Friday’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats.
However, Nash could return as soon as next Tuesday’s road game against the Minnesota Timberwolves barring any setbacks, and Blake and Farmar could return sometime later next week as well.
Nash was expected to play Tuesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, but experienced a minor setback prior to Monday’s practice as he suffered a tweak in his back that was described as “sort of freakish thing.”
Prior to Monday’s setback, the 18-year veteran over past two weeks was in Vancouver working out with his personal trainer while the Lakers were on their seven-game road trip. He had been progressing in his rehab and was scheduled to play in Tuesday’s game.
Since signing with Lakers in July 2012, it has been a non-stop battle with injuries for the two-time league MVP.
“This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever faced in my career,” Nash said. “Ever since I broke my leg, nothing’s been the same. Nothing’s been easy. But I also look for challenges in life, so this is a great opportunity for me to learn about myself and try to fight through it and hopefully on the other side, I’ll be a better person.”
But with that said, Nash is continuing to progress in his recovery from the nerve root irritation in his back that has limited him to playing in just six games this season, where he is averaging 6.7 points and 4.8 assists while shooting just 26 percent from the field in 22.5 minutes per game.
“I can withstand more demands,” Nash said of his improvement. “More contact, more unpredictable factors — change of direction, playing against somebody — those are all things that the nerve and the spine weren’t able to handle two weeks ago.”
Although Nash was able to participate in Thursday’s practice, he knows that he still has a couple of hurdles to clear in order to return to an actual game.
“A couple more days of practice will be, I think crucial for me,” Nash said. “I got to take it day by day. A month or so ago I was here, practiced three days in a row, felt really good and then two days later for whatever reason the nerve was pretty fired up again, so I just want to take it day by day. The fact that I got through one day of practice is a positive.”
As for Blake, the 33-year-old stated on Thursday that he is still experiencing pain in the back of his right elbow when he shoots. He has been out since Dec. 10 due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
For Farmar, Friday will mark a month that he has been out with a second tear to his right hamstring that he suffered on Dec.31. The 27-year-old said that he is hesitant on placing a precious date for his return.
With the news that Los Angeles’ injured point guard are making progress, it now brings up the imminent question of what will happen to Kendall Marshall’s playing time once Nash, Blake, and Farmar make their return to the court. In their absence the second-year guard out of North Carolina has been making the most of his opportunity as he is averaging 12.0 points and 11.5 assists to along with shooting 47 percent from beyond the arc.
Nonetheless with the Lakers appearing to be getting healthy, it can only be good for the team as they are working through a tough stretch of 17 losses in their last 20 games.
Bob Garcia IV
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