Lakers’ Steve Nash, pushing 40, may have to learn new trick
Steve Nash might not have a choice about any of this.
Father Time has been giving him a full-court press since last season. He’ll be 40 in February.
So he’s on board with the Lakers’ experiment that might debut Wednesday at Golden State. Nash could be sitting out the second night of back-to-back situations.
“I want to play them all, but if missing the back end of some or all the back-to-backs prevents me from missing a month or two because of injury, then I think it’s something you’ve got to look at,” Nash said Tuesday.
The Lakers play 19 sets of back-to-backs this season. That would be a lot of games to miss. Nash is under contract next season too.
Basically, Nash and Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni will get together on the second day of consecutive games and determine whether the NBA’s oldest point guard will play that night.
“What you don’t want is for the body to be really stiff and not be able to gain that mobility and then go out there and do some damage,” Nash said.
He was bothered by a sore ankle and stiff neck this month and stalled by injuries throughout last season — a broken leg, followed by nerve damage resulting from the fracture, then a different nerve problem that required epidural shots because of hip pain and hamstring weakness.
Even if he is supposed to sit out, Nash will suit up in case of an in-game injury or early foul trouble for other Lakers point guards.
“If you get somebody hurt right in the first minute, then he’s going to have to play,” D’Antoni said.
The Lakers obviously want Nash in the lineup as often as possible.
“I’d like Steve to play every night,” Pau Gasol said. “I think he’s a great playmaker and a great unselfish player that will help us out there, especially with the young group that we have and a lot of new guys that we have.
“If he does have to sit out the second night of back-to-backs … the sooner that we understand and adjust to that, the better off we’ll be.”
George Karl has always kept an eye on the Lakers, whether his son, Coby, played for them a few years back or his Denver Nuggets faced them any number of times in a season.
But even he can’t figure them out these days.
“The Lakers are in kind of a weird state,” Karl, now an ESPN analyst, said before Tuesday’s game. “I mean, can anyone figure out when Kobe [Bryant] is coming back? What are they going to do with the rotation? Are they going to play fast? Can Nash play 82 games?
“There are so many question marks about the Lakers that the Clippers, they’re the celebration of L.A. right now. And they deserve to be.”
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