At this going rate, Steve Nash will soon run out of body parts that doesn’t ail him.
No, he’s hasn’t suffered last season’s nightmare yet when he missed a combined 32 games because of a fractured left leg and had ongoing issues with his hamstring and back. Nash still reminds himself that his rhythm feels good. He remains convinced the conversation surrounding the Lakers’ 91-85 loss Friday to the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center would’ve shifted differently had he fared better than posting five points on one of eight shooting and five assists in 23 minutes.
But as another game goes by, so too, does another injury.
“The quad got bumped a bunch of times,” Nash said. “I was a bit limited.”
Nash sure was, a frightening proposition considering the Lakers are only three games into the season and he’s already nursing several wounds. That includes a sore left ankle, a stiff neck and his quads. Both Lakers coach Mike D’ANtoni and Nash say he sat out of the Lakers’ loss Wednesday to Golden State for precautionary reasons after playing the previous night in the team’s season opening win against the Clippers. But Nash would’ve preferred to stay on court.
Yet, it’s clear thus far that Nash has failed both in staying healthy and establishing much of an on-court rhythm. Nash looked so dreadful that he even sat out the entire fourth quarter, and it wasn’t because of health.
“It’s a process. He’s got to get his legs under him, that’s the biggest thing,” D’Antoni said. “It’s hard to bring (Nash) back in. I kept him out so long he would be stiff by then.”
Yet, through this never-ending barrage of injuries and wonder if Nash has gone through a downward slope, the 39-year-old guard keeps telling himself this will turn around.
“In the first quarter, I don’t know if there was anymore physically I could ask for,” Nash said. “Obviously I’m not perfect. But getting to my spots and getting my shot and my legs were in my shot, it didn’t go for me. I’d like to have them all back. But very easily I could’ve made four or five shots in the first quarter and everyone would be looking at this thing differently. I have to take that and not get frustrated and say keep building, keep learning, keep working for your health. There is a chance it will work out.”
Instead, Nash found himself missing pull-up jumpers and layups. He struggled overseeing a starting lineup that, aside from Pau Gasol’s 20 points on 8 of 17 shooting, went a collective 5 of 27 from the field. And, yet again, Nash suffered another injury.
“I have to remain positive and not get carried away with the outcome,” Nash said. “It’s more about how did I feel? I felt good. Obiously it deteriorated when I kept getting banged on that bruise. But at the start of the game, I can build on that.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org