Lakers guard Steve Nash experienced back spasms after carrying luggage (Danny Moloshok/The Associated Press file photo)
The Lakers have barely played any games yet, but they already are witnessing Steve Nash suffer more injuries. Lakers coach Byron Scott said Nash experienced additional back spasms after carrying bags. After Nash missed his third consecutive practice on Wednesday, Scott ruled Nash out of Thursday’s exhibition against the Utah Jazz in Anaheim.
Lakers guard Jeremy Lin completed shooting and conditioning drills on Wednesday, but said he will sit out of Thursday’s game as well because of a sprained left ankle that has limited him in the past week. That likely thrusts NBA veteran guard Ronnie Price into the Lakers’ starting lineup on Thursday versus Utah.
But about Nash’s future? He played only the first quarter of the Lakers’ preseason loss on Sunday against Golden State after asking out of the game. On Monday, Nash reported having a “sciatica problem,” which is related to nerve issues causing discomfort in his lower back. But he generally downplayed his injuries, which kept him out last season for all but 15 games. The 40-year-old Nash has one season left on his contract worth $9.8 million.
“It’s a concern,” Scott said. “I have to figure out if he will play every day or not or play every other game. How many games can he play and which games can he play. In the next couple of weeks, we have some time to come to a conclusion how we will handle this situation.”
The Lakers somewhat anticipated Nash experiencing injury issues. They acquired Lin in a trade from Houston, drafted guard Jordan Clarkson and acquired Price in hopes the Lakers would have more point guard depth. But has Nash’s latest development already forced Scott to operate without him?
“I haven’t gotten there yet,” Scott said. “In a couple of weeks, if the situation is the same, that’s the way I have to go.”
Scott said after Tuesdays’ practice that Nash’s recent absences have prompted him to consider featuring him as a reserve. It seems likely Scott would then start Lin, who has averaged 11.9 points and 4.8 assists through four NBA seasons. This situation has become less awkward since Nash and Lin have publicly said they are fine with any role.
“You don’t want to feel you’re stepping on anyone’s toes,” Lin said. “But he’s a professional. I try my best to be as well. At the end of the day, we both understand and have been around long enough that helps a season much more enjoyable.”
Part of that affection also stems from Nash’s credentials (two NBA MVPs, third overall on the league’s all-time assists list), work ethic and positive attitude.
“He’s always in the training room,” Lin said. “It sucks to watch it, and it’s tougher to go through it. He’s positive. Through it, he’s still a good influence and person to be around. He’s not moping around. He’s trying to help out anyway he can. Obviously we’re all hoping for the best with him.”
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