Steve Nash says he will “most likely” return Christmas Day vs. Knicks

After making a list and checking it twice, Steve Nash predicted he will “most likely” return on Christmas Day when the Lakers host the New York Knicks at Staples Center.

Nash will first go through full five-on-five drills Thursday and Friday to assess how his fractured left leg responds to the contact after missing the past 23 games. Should Nash respond well to those practice, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni considered it “possible” for Nash’s return to happen Saturday when the Lakers travel to Golden State.

But Nash is hedging his bets out of extra precaution. Still, he revealed his obvious excitement with playful sarcasm on his return will mean.

“A lot of people are excited for an out of shape guy to come and play,” said Nash, who is 38 and has played 17 NBA seasons.

The Lakers have been more complimentary.

“When I signed and knew I had Steve, that perked me up,” said D’Antoni, who coached Nash through four seasons in Phoenix. “We didn’t really have that yet. But it’s good. He’s going to be a big part of it obviously. I can’t wait to get him back.”

Until that happens, though, Nash stressed plenty of caution.

He envisions a three to four week period where he still feels discomfort in his left leg. Nash concedes he’s “way behind” on his cardio training. He also noted that Monday’s practice was fairly limited since there was no contact and full-court scrimmaging.

Still, Nash sensed he turned a corner in the past week.

“I started to be able to do more things and jog and start to push it a little bit,” he said. “It was painful and still painful, but it responded. It doesn’t stay painful when I wake in the morning. By the time night comes around, I feel like I have improvements. That’s all you want. When you push it and go through pain thresholds, it responds and doesn’t set you back a couple of days.”

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