Lakers’ Steve Nash could sit out second game of back-to-back

Lakers guard Steve Nash hasn't completed a practice session since training camp.
Lakers guard Steve Nash hasn’t completed a practice session since training camp.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The latest installment was unveiled in the Steve Nash Injury Watch.

It’s “very possible” the 39-year-old point guard will sit out the second night of season-opening back-to-back games, Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said Sunday.

Somewhere you can hear Nash’s fantasy value drop.

More important to the Lakers is real-life value and what they can squeeze out of him this season, which begins Tuesday against the Clippers and Wednesday at Golden State.

Nash looked solid in off-season scrimmages before training camp but since then hadn’t completed a full practice because of nagging ankle and neck soreness.

It’s not uncommon for aging players to sit out a night in back-to-back situations. San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich has done it with veterans Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

But the Lakers didn’t envision this when they sent four draft picks (two first-round, two second) to Phoenix for Nash last year.


Sitting one of two nights might be part of the program for Nash. The Lakers have 19 back-to-back sets.

“We’ll see where we are in the schedule, where we are in the standings,” D’Antoni said. “The idea is to … keep the minutes consistent for him, but the number of games comes down.”

Nash averaged four points and 3.6 assists in exhibition play. He is under contract through 2014-15.

Fortunately for the Lakers, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar played pretty well in the exhibition season.

“Those guys both bring a lot of energy to the table,” said forward Chris Kaman. “They know they’re going to be coming in and out of the lineups and trying to help Steve do the best they can.”

Farmar averaged 13 points and five assists in exhibition play, and Blake averaged 7.3 points and 4.6 assists.

Kaman healthy again


Kaman returned to the court after almost a week of intestinal flu symptoms.

“I was winded today, but a couple more days and I’ll be good to go,” said Kaman, who missed the Lakers’ last two exhibition games.

He will play Tuesday against the Clippers, he said.

Kaman played his first eight NBA seasons with the Clippers and was mostly thankful for the experience … except one thing.

“They traded me, which is fine … but I didn’t think they were respectful about it,” he said. “After playing eight years there, the least they could have done is told me what was going on. I wouldn’t have tried to fight it. Who wouldn’t trade to get Chris Paul? Look what he’s done for the organization.

“I was probably one of the longer-[tenured] players to ever play for the Clippers. I just would have appreciated someone saying something to me and I didn’t have to find out from ESPN.”

He then added jokingly, “I blame it on Neil Olshey, who was the GM at the time.”

Rebounding issues

The Lakers didn’t do much right last season, but one thing they could count on was rebounding.

They finished fourth with 44.8 rebounds a game, though Dwight Howard averaged 12.4 a game.

So far, so bad.

It was only exhibition play, but the Lakers collected 41 rebounds a game while opponents took 49.4.


“If we’re going to go with smaller lineups and quicker lineups, we all have to make a conscious effort of getting bodies in the lane, small [players] getting in the lane and getting those rebounds too,” said Pau Gasol, who averaged 8.6 rebounds last season.

D’Antoni tried to brush off the disparity.

“It’s not a big concern,” he said. “I’m not one of those purists that thinks you need to get all the rebounds. It’d be nice.”

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

Times correspondent Eric Pincus contributed to this report.