The Los Angeles Lakers could be getting back some point guard depth on the court as Steve Nash is expected to make his return in Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
The 39-year-old was a full participant in Monday’s practice and barring any setbacks he will likely play on Tuesday. Nash has been out since Nov. 10 due to nerve root irritation in his lower back, which had led Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni to contemplate if the tw0-time NBA MVP could even return at all.
“With the age and how his back is, yeah, I definitely [wondered],” D’Antoni said. “Again, it just shows his perseverance to overcome whatever just to play. He wants to play, obviously. And he’s done an unbelievable job to get himself ready up to this point and we’ll see how it goes.”
Nash was expected to play in last Tuesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, but experienced a minor setback the day before prior to practice as he suffered a tweak in his back that was described as “sort of freakish thing.
According to the Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times, Nash’s minutes will be very limited as expected in his first game back since November.
Don’t expect 48 minutes from Nash. He’ll play first 5-8 minutes of game, then sit until 3rd quarter. Then he’ll play 5-8 more mins.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) February 4, 2014
“It’s possible,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll see how everybody wakes up, but there is a possibility all three could play.”
Blake, who has been sidelined since Dec. 10 due to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, has appeared to make significant progress from last week as he was experiencing pain in the back of his right elbow when he shot the ball.
With Nash likely to miss the second of back-t0-back games on Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Blake could split time between the point guard and shooting guard positions.
Farmar, who has been out since Dec. 31 due to a second tear to his right hamstring, is more hesitant about a possible return to the court on Tuesday given the nature of his injury.
“I’m not sure about [Tuesday],” Farmar said. “We’ll see. I’m available if they allow me to.”
So with Los Angeles likely to have their injured trio of point guards be back with team on the court in the near future, it now begs the question of what will happen to Kendall Marshall. The second-year point guard in their absence has played exceptionally well as he has averaged 11.9 points and 11.5 assists in 15 starts including 11 double-digit assist game and nine double-doubles.
I think he knows he’s going to play,” D’Antoni said. “Whether he starts or whether he doesn’t, he’ll have to [get used to the fact that] it won’t be the same. He’s not going to get 35 minutes no matter what he does. So, that’s how the NBA is and he’ll have to keep carving his niche out. He’s played well, so he’s got to continue that.
The potential return of their injured point guards could not come at a better time as the Lakers are in a struggling stretch as they have lost 18 out of their last 21 games and hold the sixth-worst record in the NBA at 16-31.
But with that said, injuries played a major factor in the team’s monumental struggles over the past month and a half as it forced players on the team to assume a larger role that they were not fully capable of fulfilling. So with help now on the way, it will take some pressure off other players to perform out of their realm of capability.
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