Nerve pain in his back will keep Lakers guard Steve Nash sidelined for at least two weeks and will receive an epidural block Tuesday in hopes of alleviating the pain.
Nash visited back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins on Monday, the day after the 39-year-old guard missed the entire second half of the Lakers’ loss to Minnesota because of increasing back pain. The Lakers’ initial timeline means Nash will miss at least six games, including ones against the New Orleans Pelicans (Tuesday), Denver Nuggets (Wednesday), Memphis Grizzlies (Friday), Detroit Pistons (Sunday), Golden State Warriors (Nov. 22) and Sacramento Kings (Nov. 24).
The Lakers plan to reevaluate Nash in about 10 days, which would likely provide clarity on whether he can return during the team’s week-long trip with stops in Washington (Nov. 26), Brooklyn (Nov. 27) and Detroit (Nov. 29).
Nash missed eight games last season, including two postseason appearances, because of persisting back and right hamstring issues. This time, Nash said his back pain stems from nerve issues surrounding his left hamstring and surgically repaired left leg. Nash had also received three epidural blocks during last season’s ailments, but they hardly made much impact.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni will start Jodie Meeks at shooting guard while Steve Blake slides over at point guard. Meeks has averaged a team-leading 12.8 points on 50.7 percent shooting from the field and 45.9 percent from three-point range. Blake has provided a steady playmaking presence and an occasional outside shooting touch, averaging 10 points on 38.9 percent shooting and a 48.8 percent clip from the perimeter. Blake also made a game-winning three-pointer last week in the Lakers’ win over Houston.
Nash has remained limited for most of the season, averaging only 6.7 points on 26.1 percent shooting in 22.5 minutes while also missing two games on the second night of back-to-back contests. Throughout training camp and eight regular season games, Nash also monitored a sore left ankle, a stiff neck and sore quadricep muscles.
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