EL SEGUNDO — After going through two full contact practices for the first time since fracturing his left leg nearly two months ago, Lakers guard Steve Nash reported “lots of pain, but it has progressed.”
But will it be enough for Nash to suit up when the Lakers play Saturday at Golden State?
“There’s probably a low chance tomorrow,” Nash said following practice here at the Lakers’ facility. “But I’m definitely playing on Christmas for sure.”
Nash is referring to when the Lakers play Tuesday against the New York Knicks.
Regardless of his return, the Lakers are eagerly anticipating it for obvious reasons. His expertise with Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system after playing four seasons in Phoenix should jump start the Lakers (12-14) after spending most of the season reeling in inconsistency.
“It gives us excitement,” D’Antoni said. “We know we’ll have some problems. We always do. But to have a two-time MVP running your thing? Nothing against the other guys, but he’s unbelievable and he knows what he’s been running forever. This is what we’ve brought him for, hopefully he has a chance to do it.”
D’Antoni gushed about Nash, saying he looked similar to when he played in Phoenix. D’Antoni also sounded in a good enough mood to point out that “his haircut is better too.”
But whether Nash looks better enough to return on Saturday remains another story.
After missing the past 24 games since Nov. 1 because of a fractured left leg, Nash sounded aware that the last two days marked the first time he played with actual contact. Before then, Nash remained limited to stationary ball handling and shooting drills as well as exercises on the elliptical machine.
He has previously said he envisions feeling additional pain for at least the first three to four weeks once he returns.
“The stress and contact and all the different forces that I didn’t face for seven weeks takes a little toll,” Nash said. “But I also feel like I responded fairly well.”
So much that even he even exceeded his recovery expectations considering the severity of his injury.
“Surprisingly, I felt better than I thought,” Nash said. “But there’s still obviously some growing pains to get through.”
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