Contrary to the reports that Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash will sit out the remainder of the season, the 40-year-old is planning on making his return to the court on Friday against the Washington Wizards, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Nash was able to participate fully in practice on Thursday and is expected to come off the bench as a backup point guard to Kendall Marshall due to the fact that Jordan Farmar will be out for at least the next two weeks with a mild strain of his right groin.
The 18-year veteran has been limited to playing in just 10 games this season due to persistent nerve irritation in his back and left leg. He initially suffered a similar issue in his back on Nov. 10 which forced him miss the next two months. He made his return to the lineup on Feb. 4, but suffered yet another setback just days later when bumped knees with Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich that exacerbated the condition once again.
The news comes just a week after head coach Mike D’Antoni had ruled Nash out for the rest of the season because his nagging injuries. But things shifted a bit on Wednesday prior to the Lakers’ 125-109 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, as D’Antoni changed his tone on the situation as he left open the possibility for the two-time league MVP to return in the final 15 games of the season.
We’ll have to see,” D’Antoni said on Wednesday prior to the loss to the Spurs. “Again, we’re just trying to get him totally healthy. You just don’t want to send him out there and play him when he’s not healthy. The last time we tried, if you remember, he didn’t make it through a game.
“We can’t have him start the game and then at halftime not be able to come out. We got to look and see and maybe try it in a couple practices and see if he can get 100 percent healthy, but right now he’s not there.”
With Nash expected to be back on the floor for the Lakers, it changes the dynamic for the rest of the season as it was believed that the eight-time All-Star would use the offseason to get his body right and prove next season that he could still play without any nagging injuries occurring.
However, it does not come as much of a surprise with Nash stating earlier this month that he desired a return to the court this season despite things looking bleak at time of his comments.
“I want to come back for sure,” Nash said. “You never know what the case is in a month or a week or two weeks, physically, from a club standpoint, from my standpoint. You’re looking at potentially the last few months of my career. I didn’t want to just let that slide by without getting back on the court, so it motivated me. But who knows now?”
With Nash back in the lineup for Friday’s game, expect him to play in limited minutes off the bench as it will be his first game action in the last five weeks. As for the remainder of the season for the 40-year-old, it will likely be touch-and-go with him as his injury could flare up at any given moment.
Nonetheless, Nash’s return to the court is an encouraging sign that he’s progressed far enough in his recovery given the fact it was a foregone conclusion his season was done a week ago.
Watch Steve Nash’s 19-point, five-assist game against the Philadelphia 76ers from back in February:
Photo Credit: Cary Edmond / USA Today