It took quite a while, but Steve Nash finally returned phone calls from Lakers Coach Byron Scott.
And they still missed each other Monday.
Scott recently expressed mild confusion Nash hadn't called him back, at least to talk for a few minutes. Nash, 40, is sitting out this season because of chronic back problems but Scott has repeatedly expressed hope the two-time NBA MVP will serve as a mentor for younger players on the team.
Nash has been away from the Lakers in recent weeks, trying to clear his mind with the realization his career is over.
He became enmeshed in a social-media flap after posting Instagram photos of himself whacking a golf ball at a driving range. Lakers fans were not amused, aware the team had spent two first-round and two second-round picks to get Nash from Phoenix in 2012. And there is also a three-year, $28-million contract that expires after this season.
"He did say on his message that he's definitely going to come back [to visit], he wants to see everybody, but he just needed some time, which we all understood," Scott said Tuesday.
Scott seemed slightly less understanding last week.
"If my coach would have called me, I definitely would have called him back," he said at the time. "I know he's probably going through a tough time as far as trying to adjust to life without basketball at this particular point."
Nash is on the Lakers' books for $9.7 million this season. He hasn't spoken to reporters since the team declared him done for the season four weeks ago. The voice mail he left Monday was short.
Said Scott: "It was a very simple message: 'Coach, I heard that you called me, and I don't check my voice mail.... Hope everything's well. Hang in there. I'll see you guys soon.' "
Scott said he would return Nash's call Wednesday or late Tuesday after the Lakers' game against Atlanta.
Bad hamstring luck
Nick Young returned Tuesday from a torn thumb ligament, but the Lakers lost another shooter, Ryan Kelly, for at least six weeks because of recurring hamstring problems.
He sustained a new strain in his right hamstring Sunday against Golden State and was expected to be gone until January.
"It's just unbelievable that he tears his hamstring in the same leg, just a different place," Scott said. "And we were very cautious. We made sure we took our sweet time in getting him back."
Kelly averaged eight points as a rookie last season but only 3.7 points in parts of three games this season.
Ellington returning Friday
Reserve guard Wayne Ellington is expected to rejoin the team for Friday's game in Dallas, Scott said.
He was on indefinite leave after his father was fatally shot last week in Philadelphia.