Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni remains so reluctant on determining which games on the second night of a back-to-back Nash would sit that the coach may not decide whether he sits during the actual game.
“He’ll always dress and be available to use him in case someone gets in foul trouble or gets hurt,” D’Antoni said. “I might go into a game thinking he won’t play and then he’ll play. We’ll go that route.”
So would Nash play some games as a reserve?
“If he’s going to play, he’s going to play,” D’Antoni said. “He’s not coming off the bench. The only scenario is if someone got in foul trouble or someone got hurt.”
D’Antoni said he won’t decide how he will play Nash when the Lakers play Wednesday in Golden State after playing Tuesday night against the Clippers in a designated home game at Staples Center. D’Antoni said he wants to first see how Nash plays during the season opener and how his body responds throughout the following day leading up to tipoff.
“I’m hoping that whatever is best for the team,” Nash said. “If I can play them all, I’ll play them all. If missing a back end of some or all of the back-to-backs prevents me from mising a month or two from injuries, then I think it’s something you have to look at.”
Nash remained limited in training camp, averaging four points on 42.3 percent shooting and 3.6 assists in 18.4 minutes in hopes of preserving the 39-year-old body. After missing a combined 32 games because of a fractured left leg and back and hamstring issues, Nash has nursed left ankle and neck injuries.
He reported pain in his left ankle before the beginning of training camp, an injury that subsided until he felt enough pain to sit out the second half of the Lakers’ preseason game Oct. 10 against Sacramento in Las Vegas. He then reported neck pain after making what he called a “sharp bump” during a pick-and-roll play that put his spine in an uncomfortable position. He spent this offseason improving what he called his “postural stability” and “movement patterns” to avoid any additional pressure on his spine.
Despite his ankle and neck issues, Nash played 29 minutes in the Lakers’ preseason finale Friday against Utah, a stark increase from the 20.2 minutes he averaged in the previous five games.
“You don’t want the body to be stiff and not be able to gain that mobility and go out there and do some damage because you don’t have the mobility to withstand the events,” Nash said. “Hopefully it’s not an issue. That’s the key thing to see where I’m at, how I recover and how mobile I am.”
How has Nash’s body felt the day after games?
“It’s something I haven’t looked at closely because I haven’t had to play a back to back,” said Nash, who missed the Lakers’ preseason opener to rest for the second game the following night. “I haven’t woke up saying, ‘I have a game tonight, how do I feel? I don’t think it’s impossible but I think it’s something we have to watch, measure and see how it goes.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org