Steve Nash was sidelined the second half of Sunday’s 113-90 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves because of nerve pain in his back and hamstring.
As he walked out of Staples Center, he stopped to talk to a small group of reporters about his frustration.
“I hesitate to even talk about it now because it’s probably not a good time, I’m feeling a little emotional, but it’s hard,” Nash said. “I really want to play and I really want to play the way I’m accustomed to playing, and to be so limited is frustrating. And also to not know where a clean-ish bill of health is is a little daunting too.”
Nash, who turns 40 in February, played 13 minutes before Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni realized that his point guard was in pain and took him out of the game.
“I’ve known him forever,” said D’Antoni, who also coached Nash on the Phoenix Suns. “When he looks like that, I know he’s trying to battle through something.”
Nash will be examined Monday by back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins. He said it was “foolish” that he didn’t ask D’Antoni to be taken out of the game sooner.
“The pain is always there, it’s not as much of a concern,” said Nash, who finished with two points and three assists. “It’s just when you’re so limited and you’re limping, you’re trying to get off your left leg the whole time, then you just can’t be effective and you’re making it worse. I tried to play through it, but to what diminishing returns.”
Nash struggled to describe exactly what was bothering him.
“It gets really confusing,” he said. “I have obviously back issues. It’s nerves coming from my back. You could call it the back, you could call it the nerves, the pain in the hamstring, it’s all the same thing. It gets a little convoluted.”
He chalked the injury up to his years of playing.
“A lot of wear and tear, and a lot of mileage,” he said. “There’s a lot going on.”
Nash has already sat out two games this season as a precautionary measure related to his back pain.
“I’m trying to play through it, but at the same time be smart and overcome what I can,” he said. “But it’s taken a bit of a turn for the worse, and I’m just going to see the [doctor] tomorrow and see what he advises.”
D’Antoni acknowledged that he’s worried about Nash.
“I’m concerned,” he said. “He was struggling physically tonight. You could just see it on his face, and that’s why I took him out.
“It’s tough on him more than anybody. He wants in the worst way to be able to perform and have a good year. He’s doing everything he can do. When you watch him and watch him struggle, it’s not fun for anybody.”