LOS ANGELES – In only his third game since returning from the nerve root irritation in his back, Steve Nash left Sunday’s contest in the third quarter after contact to his left leg caused nerve irritation.
The 40-year-old attempted to play through it, but to no avail as he left four minutes after the initial injury to his left leg.
“It just got me right on the nerve” said Nash, who had eight points, two assists, and two rebounds in 22 minutes played. “It’s just all part of the process. It’s just a short little se back and hopefully this I will be right back out (there).”
The 18-year veteran also added that he pulled himself out of the game due to precautionary reasons, although he felt would have been able to play through the injury.
“It was just getting worse lately,” Nash said. “I wanted to play especially when we are losing you want to try (to) fight through it. I have been through that before and I know where it goes, so I didn’t want to risk it. I think it was the smart decision to come out.”
Head coach Mike D’Antoni seemed to be positive about the injury after the game as he felt that Nash should be able to play in Tuesday’s game against the Utah Jazz.
“I think he will be okay on Tuesday,” D’Antoni said. “It was just a freak bumping of knees and his back started to tighten up a little bit. We’ll see how it goes.”
D’Antoni also stated that Nash’s back only became an issue after he began to start limping on his left knee which triggered his back to tighten up due to his body overcompensating for his injured left leg.
Nash had made his return to the court on Feb. 4 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, which was his first game back since Nov. 10 due to nerve root irritation in his lower back. Nash had showed signs that he his body was feeling well as evident by the 19-point and five-assist effort in Friday’s win 112-98 over the Philadelphia 76ers.
So with that said, the two-time league MVP appears to be hopeful that he will be able to bounce back quickly and return to court with his team as soon as possible.
“I hope tomorrow I can wake up and jump right back into it,” Nash said. “Hopefully that nerve will just settle down and I’ll be okay. It’s been a tough road so I won’t take anything for granted, but I think tomorrow I should be much better.”
If the Lakers were to indeed lose Nash for any period of time it would be another blow to the already depleted Lakers’ roster that entering Sunday’s game was without Nick Young (leg), Pau Gasol (groin), Jodie Meeks (ankle), Jordan Farmar (hamstring) and Kobe Bryant (leg).
So with Nash out, the Lakers will need to rely heavily on Kendall Marshall, who had second straight double digit assist game, and Steve Blake, who had eight points and four assists on Sunday, to handle the point guard duties.
Whatever the case may be, Marshall will be prepared for what comes his way.
“I am feeling good,” Marshall said. ” I am going to do whatever the coach asks me to do. If it’s playing 12 minutes then I am going to make the most of that time. If it’s 35-plus minutes, I will do the same with that.”
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