After nursing pain in his left leg for the past two days, Steve Nash remains a game-time decision when the Lakers host the Clippers tonight at Staples Center.
“It doesn’t look good, but they haven’t ruled him out yet,” Lakers Coach Mike Brown said about Nash’s status.
Nash didn’t participate in Friday’s morning shootaround. Although Brown said the training staff told him Nash has made “progress,” Brown noted the Lakers’ guard “got dinged pretty good.”
Nash suffered a lower contusion in his left leg during the Lakers’ 116-106 loss Wednesday to the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden after colliding with rookie point guard Damian Lillard against his left shin with 2:26 left in the first half. Nash immediately clutched his left knee and hobbled to the locker room. Nash returned in the second half wearing a protective yellow sleeve. But he then went back to the locker room with 10:44 left in the third quarter. Nash then spent the remainder of the game receiving treatment and icing on his left leg.
The Lakers value Nash’s presence for his playmaking and court vision. But through two games, Nash has struggled, averaging only 4.5 points on 33 percent shooting and four assists in 25 minutes per contest. Although he’s embraced the concepts the new offense that includes elements of the Princeton system, Nash has admitted part of those numbers reflect the learning curve he’s going through in executing it.
Lakers center Dwight Howard said he’s been “working on his guard skills, called himself “Tragic Johnson,” and joked he would start at point guard should Nash sit out. In reality, Lakers guard Steve Blake would get the nod. He’s averaged 3.5 points on 50 percent shooting and 4.5 assists through 21 minutes. Brown believes Blake progressed slowly in training camp partly because he missed the first three days of practice after stepping on a parking lot strip in Manhattan Beach.
“He’s getting back in the groove,” Brown said. “The last week and a half or so, he’s starting to look like what he did before he got hurt.”
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