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Steve Nash eyes February return to Lakers

Jan 3, 2014, 9:19 PM EST

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Steve Nash is a man fully in touch with his basketball mortality.

After coming to the Lakers in trade on a three-year deal that would likely be the final one of his career last season, Nash has been spending most of his time in his new surroundings simply trying to get healthy enough to make a consistent on-court contribution.

A nerve issue that has resulted from back and hamstring issues has limited Nash a ton this season, and realizing that the next time he steps onto the court may be among the last in a professional setting, he’s determined to get as healthy as possible before making his return to the lineup.

From Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:

The way Steve Nash sees it, if the next time he suits up for the Los Angeles Lakers goes south because of the chronic nerve issues in his back and hamstrings, it could be the last basketball he plays in his illustrious 18-year career.

With that in mind, Nash is making sure he does as much as possible to get his body right before making what could be his final comeback attempt as an NBA player.

“At some point, I have to also realize, do the safest thing, the best possible opportunity to play basketball again rather than letting my angst get the better of me and jumping back in there,” Nash said after the Lakers’ shootaround Friday. “I know I can get healthy. It’s a matter of, ‘Can I sustain it?’ And I’m just trying to get that health under my belt for an amount of time where we feel confident that it can be sustainable is the tricky part, and that’s probably going to take a little while longer than I was hoping.”

The situation is not only depressing to a Lakers team that hoped to get a couple of serviceable seasons out of a Hall of Fame caliber point guard, but also to Nash himself.

Nash has always prided himself on his conditioning and the care he’s taken with his body throughout his career. In Phoenix, he was always leading by example with his diet and training regimens, and could always be seen stretching and doing awkward-looking exercises on the sidelines during games in order to stay ready and keep his body in prime physical condition.

Nash will skip the team’s upcoming seven-game road trip, and hopes to be back the first week of February. But it’s far from guaranteed.

“It’s all super speculative at this point because it’s such a weird, tricky dimension when you’re talking about this nerve issue,” Nash said.

It makes sense for Nash to get as healthy as possible before returning for what could very well be his final stretch of NBA games. He’s under contract for one more year after this one, but there are multiple options available if he’s physically unable to play beyond this season.

  1. brotherlove2012 - Jan 3, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    He should retire, at this point there are no reasons for him to come back. It wouldn’t help them that much anyway and he just risks reinjuring himself. This is also the kind of injury that could deprive him of his quality of life in the future, why risk it for a season that is ruined anyway?

    • sportsfan18 - Jan 3, 2014 at 10:10 PM

      I agree. I know he could get injured in his first game back but I’d like to see him take the court one more time, make a 3 pointer or some free throws and then when he gets an assist, they should call timeout and let him walk off the court and retire.

      I mean, I’d like to see him walk off the court after making a nice basketball play than to retire months after not playing due to injury.

      But that’s just me.

      He’s had a really good career. Even with all the recognition he’s received, he’s still not appreciated for what he’s done.

      And you’re right about the season as it’s a waste.

      I mean, when he decided to come to the Lakers a year plus ago, it WAS to chase a title in his last few seasons and that won’t be happening this yr and I highly doubt it will next year either.

  2. acdc84 - Jan 3, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    This would be a sad ending for Nash, and if he comes back healthy I hope LA has enough to class to trade him to a contender for nothing more than a sack of basketballs. (I don’t know how salaries affect trades in the NBA but I’m just saying they should let him go to any contender that has mutual interest with him, as easily as possible and not asking for a thing in return.

    As a Laker fan, it’s all about “earning” a high enough lottery position in order to reduce the speculation and controversy when their ping pong ball magically comes out as the big winner!!

    • asimonetti88 - Jan 4, 2014 at 1:04 PM

      No one will want him. He’s a 40 year old who can’t physically play anymore with $16 million left on his contract. Was stoked when he came to LA but the game has passed him by.

  3. timb12 - Jan 3, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    I’m sure he wants to overcome the injury and go out on his terms. No one wants their career ended by something like this.

  4. brotherlove2012 - Jan 4, 2014 at 12:17 AM

    Yeah, it’s true. But still, pride can make you do stupid things sometimes.

  5. money2long - Jan 4, 2014 at 1:10 AM

    how bout that kendall marshall guy

  6. lakerade - Jan 4, 2014 at 1:51 AM

    Even upon his return, expectations are low. Just want to see him give it one last push the way he’d like.

  7. ravenswhat - Jan 4, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    Who??

  8. adoombray - Jan 4, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    “a nerve issue that resulted from other issues…”

    And thats why the Suns training staff is the best. they take that stuff into consideration. they treat not just the injury but the injuries that might occur as a result of other ones. Grant Hill and Jermaine O’Neal fell apart as soon as they left Phoenix too. This is the only time my Phoenix born and living in Boston now self will ever say this: Sorry Lakers fans, you deserved better. Healthy Nash in D’antoni’s system is why i fell in love with basketball and it would have brought a fresh generation of fans to the Lakers ; those kids are all wearing Blake Griffin and Chris Paul jerseys now.

    • therealhtj - Jan 4, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      And in 3-4 years when CP3 gets up in age and Blake Griffin’s athleticism (along with his game) has left him, and the Clips still have 0 rings, those kids will be wearing KLove Lakers Jerseys.

      • adoombray - Jan 4, 2014 at 10:00 PM

        you mean Bulls jerseys right? maybe Timberwolves jerseys? they just fired everybody in Minnie to keep him happy. Klove is having legendary stats some nights this year, as he did 2 years ago. his combination of range and rebounding is so impressive his flaws don’t even matter. he will go down in Minnie as the guy Garnett was supposed to be or he’s playing with Rose after boozer is gone. He is not going to the Lakers with no future pieces in place and Fredo Corleone running the show.

    • musician0785 - Jan 4, 2014 at 7:02 PM

      That tells me you dont live in LA

      • adoombray - Jan 4, 2014 at 9:56 PM

        born and raised, visit 4-5 times a year. to my family in Santa Monica. I’m the guy that flew to LA to wear Suns jerseys in San Pedro during the 7 seconds or less playoff series with the Lakers.

      • musician0785 - Jan 5, 2014 at 12:05 PM

        oh ok, so like I said YOU DONT LIVE IN LA

    • musician0785 - Jan 5, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      I work at a middle/High school……those kids are still wearing Laker jerseys….maybe in Arizona the kids are wearing clipper jerseys, but not in LA….sorry

  9. fnc111 - Jan 4, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    What a nightmare decision he made to join the lakers. And look at the suns now lololol

    • adoombray - Jan 4, 2014 at 9:56 PM

      right? lakers and knicks are getting bumped for Timberwolves and Suns. 2014 is great.

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