After trying to find the right balance between preserving his health and building his rhythm during the month-long training camp, Lakers guard Steve Nash could make another step this week in exercising more caution.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said “it’s very possible” Nash will sit out in the team’s road game Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors a night after starting in the Lakers’ season opener Tuesday against the Clippers in a designated home game at Staples Center.
“I haven’t talked to him, but obviously we’ll see how he feels in the next few days,” D”Antoni said.
Nash played a limited role in training camp, partly because of concerns over a sore left ankle and neck. The Lakers’ 39-year-old point guard is also aware of last season when he a missed a combined 32 games because of a fractured left leg and ongoing back and hamstring issues.
Nash practiced on Sunday, and spent a hefty portion of the tail end of practice that was open to the media showing a solid stroke on mid-range jumpers. He also made some progress in the Lakers’ preseason finale Friday against Utah by posting seven points on 2 of 5 shooting and four assists in a preseason-high 29 minutes. Both D’Antoni and Nash have endorsed handling his playing time on a case-by-case basis depending on his health and the team’s success.
“It’s hard to make a definitive answer right now because when one of my other point guards tweaks his ankle, he’s playing,” D’Antoni said. “If another point guard has the sniffles, he’s playing. We’ll see how the other team goes and we’ll see where we are in the schedule and where we are in the standings.”
The Lakers open the season with a brutal stretch.
Their back-to-back games against the Clippers and Golden State Warriors both feature young and quick teams that are expected to make deep playoff pushes. The Lakers then play Friday at Staples Center against the San Antonio Spurs, the same team that swept them last season in the first round.
“The idea is to cut down the number of games,” D’Antoni said of Nash, “and keep the minutes consistent for him.”
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