Archive for the 'Steve Nash' Category

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Nash Turns 40, Leads Lakers to Victory

On his 40th birthday, Steve Nash scored a game-high 19 points, plus five assists and four boards, to help guide the Lakers to their second straight win – a 112-98 victory at Philadelphia.

He was greeted to decorations surrounding his seat on the charter flight home to Los Angeles. Postgame, Nash reflected on his performance, as he joined John Stockton and Michael Jordan as the only guards in the last 25 years to start in the NBA at the age of 40. The previous four players – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Edwards, Jason Kidd and Stockton – to play on their 40th birthday all won, too.

“After 18 years, it’s very sweet,” Nash said. “I thought it was gone. I didn’t know that I could get on top of my health issues. It’s still a long way from being certain or stable, but for me to be able to play two games and move the way I want to move is great. I’m still trying to get a rhythm and confidence that I can keep playing with, but this amount of freedom and movement has made all the work – the two-a-days basically for 10 months – worth it.”

His teammates also had high praise for the eight-time All-Star and two-time MVP in congratulating him on his special day.

“At this point, I don’t take anything for granted,” Nash said. “It’s a mental and emotional ride for me to get ready to play every day, and hope my body obliges. So I’m just thrilled I could move out there without restriction and help my teammates.”

Indeed, a happy birthday for Steve Nash.

Nash, Blake to Start at Minnesota

152063099NG_Kings_Lkrs_016aBoth Steve Nash and Steve Blake will return to the lineup and start at Minnesota, according to Los Angeles Times Lakers beat writer Mike Bresnahan.

Nash, who has been sidelined since Nov. 10 with nerve root irritation, has appeared in just six games this year and will be on a minutes restriction tonight, according to ESPNLA’s Dave McMenamin.

He spent the duration of the Grammy road trip in Vancouver working with his personal trainer and physical therapist and acknowledged he made significant progress during that time.

“I can withstand more demands – more contact, more unpredictable factors, change of direction – playing against somebody,” Nash explained on Thursday post practice. “That was something the nerve and spine couldn’t handle two weeks ago.”

Blake, meanwhile, has missed the last 26 games with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He had started all 21 games prior to his injury, averaging 9.8 points, 7.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds.

Post practice on Monday, the Maryland product stated he is still feeling some pain in his elbow shooting from long range, but is anxious to get back on the court with his teammates.

Lakers Point Guards Nearing Return

ts_140203blake670Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar all participated in a second straight practice on Monday before the Lakers departed for their three-game road trip.

“They’re all good,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I think they’re all ready to go. There’s a possibility all three could play (at Minnesota).”

Blake addressed the media post practice and did not explicitly state he’d suit up at Minnesota, but acknowledged he’s felt much better with two consecutive days of practice.

“We’ll see,” he said. “I felt pretty good today. We’ll see how I feel when I wake up and go from there.”

Blake had averaged 9.8 points and 7.7 assists prior to injury, including a stretch of four straight games of at least 10 dimes. The Maryland product has been sidelined eight-plus weeks with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Farmar, who has been out of action for one-month plus, echoed similar sentiments regarding his imminent return.

“I’m not sure about tomorrow,” Farmar said. “We’ll see. I’m available if they allow me (to play).”

Kobe Bryant (knee) and Pau Gasol (groin) will not accompany the team on the road, instead staying back in Los Angeles to rehab. As for who will replace Gasol in the starting unit, the coaching staff again remained mum about naming a definitive starter.

Chris Kaman has started a total of five games this season (11.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 46.4 percent field goals), most recently two games in late December while Gasol dealt with an upper respiratory infection. The 7-footer, however, has not seen extended game action in more than two-plus weeks.

“I’m just trying to be patient and take advantage of the opportunities I’m given,” Kaman said. “I’ve done this long enough to know what I need to do. Just let the game feel itself cause it’s going to be moving fast. You just have to try to make adjustments as it goes and be patient.”

Nash, Blake and Farmar Return to Practice

ts_140130stevenash670Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar all participated in practice and went through 5-on-5 full court scrimmages on Thursday, but the three have been ruled out for Friday’s game vs. Charlotte.

It was a welcomed sight for the coaching staff to see those three out on the hardwood again.

“It lets us do a lot more things and obviously getting Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar and Steve Nash on the floor is going to help the quality of basketball,” coach Mike D’Antoni said.

Return dates for the trio, however, are up in the air and are varying to certain degrees.

“I just want to take it day by day and the fact I got through one practice is a positive,” Nash said. “This is the hardest thing I have ever faced in my career. Since the broken leg, nothing has been the same, nothing has been easy.”

While he was working/rehabbing with his trainer and physical therapist in Vancouver, Nash believes he progressed significantly in the last two weeks.

“I can get up and down first of all,” Nash explained. “I can withstand more demands – more contact, more unpredictable factors, change of direction – playing against somebody. That was something the nerve and spine couldn’t handle two weeks ago.”

Blake was non-committal about a possible return, but like both his backcourt teammates, is taking a day-by-day approach.

“I still have a little bit of issues to work through right now,” Blake said. “Shooting from long range is a little bit difficult right now. The ball feels heavy. There’s still pain when I shoot. Those are the things I need to work through. Everything else feels great.”

Farmar said he is trying to take a cautious approach to see how the hamstring responds. He suffered a tear in his left hamstring in a different area just four games after returning the first time. Now he says he can gradually work his way back as opposed to starting and playing 30-35 minutes upon coming back.

“Just take it day by day,” Farmar explained. “If I do something like this tomorrow, if there’s any tightness or soreness, really keep an eye on it and don’t overdo it. Maybe take a step back – ice, treatment, stuff like that. Just really paying attention to it day by day.”

Pau Gasol, meanwhile, did not practice and is still nursing a sore groin. He confirmed post practice that he is “probable” for Friday’s game. He did, however, acknowledge it feels much better today as opposed to after halftime during Tuesday’s contest vs. Indiana.

“It started happening on the road trip, but it was mild and manageable,” Gasol said. “The Indiana game was much, much worse and hard to bear, but I was able to finish the game off and play till the end.”

For the fifth straight game, the 7-foot Spaniard recorded a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double. In the month of January, he is averaging 20.6 points, 12.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.6 blocks on 50.9 percent field goals.

Lakers Injury Update from Miami

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix SunsLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemHealthy bodies have been quite difficult to find on the court for the Lakers this season, and that trend continued at Wednesday’s session in Miami in which Mike D’Antoni didn’t have enough guys available to play 5-on-5.

Available (nine): Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks, Wesley Johnson, Ryan Kelly, Nick Young, Manny Harris, Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre, Chris Kaman
Unavailable (six): Pau Gasol (foot), Xavier Henry (knee), Jordan Farmar (hamstring), Steve Blake (elbow), Kobe Bryant (knee fracture), Steve Nash (nerve root irritation)

Gasol is the one player off the latter list who will play against the Heat on Thursday evening, as an open wound on his left foot won’t keep him out of game action, despite making it a bit painful to run, jump and cut.

Here’s the update on the Lakers who remain on the shelf:

Henry did some running, lateral slide drills and shooting, but did not participate in practice with his teammates on Wednesday. He said he’s progressed from where he was last week with a knee strain suffered on Dec. 29, which has caused him to miss 11 games thus far. Henry has been ruled out of Thursday’s game in Miami and Friday’s in Orlando. He’ll be evaluated over the weekend.

Bryant is expected to be evaluated when the team returns to Los Angeles on either Monday, Jan. 27., or Tuesday the 28th. Bryant said that he expected to get an MRI in “February,” but that could apparently come a few days prior to the change of month. Kobe’s been keeping in cardio shape by doing work on a stationary bike, but needs the knee fracture to fully heal before he can resume basketball activities. That said, Bryant has made it clear in respective media sessions in Boston and Chicago that he fully plans on returning as soon as he’s physically able.

Nash has been with his personal physical therapist/trainer working out in Vancouver, trying to improve daily so that he can test out the back, hamstring and nerve root issues that have plagued him this season. He’ll be re-evaluated by the Lakers when the team returns from the road trip just as Bryant is.

Originally diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that would take a minimum of six weeks, Blake will visit with his doctor in Los Angeles when the team returns, and a potential return date may be established at the time. One can speculate that it’s going to be a bit longer, as the key word in the original timetable was “minimum.”

Farmar tore his left hamstring in a different spot from an original tear in early December on Dec. 31, and was given a four-week timetable until re-evaluation, which could come at the beginning of February. Don’t be surprised if it’s a couple of weeks after that until Farmar hits the game floor.

Injury Update: Steve Nash

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemSteve Nash, who has missed more than a month with nerve root irritation, is expected to be out at least four more weeks, according to Lakers PR.

“Hopefully that’s a really good timeline where I can get healthy and get my back in a position where it can protect itself and survive,” Nash said post practice. “I’m making strides, for sure. The biggest thing is durability. There’s such a fine line. When I do get up to speed where I can do a lot of stuff, to be able to sustain it is the key right now.”

Certain movements, like sprinting, is something the 17-year NBA veteran can’t quite put himself to the test fully just yet.

“That’s still hit or miss,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to do it right now. It could set me way back. I’m just waiting to get a lot of confidence to do that and then do that for a long time and be able to incorporate and integrate myself into some practice sessions and then be able to sustain that.”

Staying patient, according to Nash, has been one of the more difficult tasks throughout this whole process as he tries to work his way back. In spite of all this, he remains optimistic.

“I just want to play,” Nash said. “That’s what gets me through everyday. I want to play, I still love to play, I still feel like I have the skills to do it and I’d like to end my career on a positive note. Just fighting everyday to get that little bit of joy for playing basketball, being one of the guys, running up and down the court and trying to beat somebody.”

Injury Update: Steve Nash

Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas MavericksLakers Injury Report Aside from Kobe Bryant practicing in preparation for his impending return, Steve Nash also participated, including some 5-on-5 scrimmaging, according to coach Mike D’Antoni. Nash did not go through the entirety of it with the rest of his teammates in an effort not to rush him back too soon, too fast. The plan for now is to increase his minutes each day, barring no setbacks.

“We didn’t want to push him,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll give him 10 (minutes) today, 15 (minutes) tomorrow, 20 (minutes) the next day. We’ll try to ramp him up. I don’t know (if he plays Friday). It depends on how he feels tomorrow and can he go 15 (minutes) and can he go 20 (minutes).”

While the Lakers were away on their most recent three-game road trip, Nash spent the time in Vancouver working out with his own therapist.

“It was weird,” he said of being apart from the team. “The only thing that made it acceptable for me was that I was improving every day. It was really worthwhile. I made big strides and I could feel it everyday. The amount of work I could do and sustain and the different things I could do was a huge week and it gave me a chance.”

Nash could not elaborate on whether he felt better or worse compared to the start of training camp, but remained optimistic he was heading in the right direction.

“I’ve had so many different injuries pop up,” Nash said. “Although I thought I could overcome the nerve issues, I think when you’re playing with a tweaked ankle, back spasms or a thigh bruise, it aids or abets that poor movement that allows that nerve root to become impinged. It’s difficult to translate or compare but I’m on the right path and I improved a great deal this week.”

Despite much improvement over the last week, Nash says he feels no added pressure to rush back and return with Jordan Farmar out approximately four weeks with a torn hamstring. Steve Blake remains the only healthy point guard on the roster and Xavier Henry played some fourth-quarter minutes at the position in the team’s last home game against Portland.

“I don’t think I can have that urgency,” Nash said. “My nature is to play through things and I’ve done that my whole career, but I think that’s foolish at this stage. If I race to come back Friday and it’s not quite right, I could be out forever, or for months. So I think it’s really important, whether I can play Friday or not, to make the right decision and not be hasty.”

Below is a transcription of other questions Nash addressed post practice:
Q: On the frustration he feels trying to work his way back:
Nash: I think I’ve really had to adjust my focus and my approach or else I would go crazy. I’ve tried to worry about the things I can control, try to embrace the challenge and work hard every day to get better, and embrace that part of it. I think that’s the only approach. If I have the same approach I’ve always had, it’s going to be detrimental. I just have to adjust and that’s easier said than done. Sometimes I get a good night’s sleep to have that same approach the next day.

Q: On if he sees the end of his career nearing:
Nash: The finish is close regardless. I’ve got 18 months or so of basketball left. How much of that 18 months I get to play crosses my mind everyday. Every day I’m out is a day lost. It’s not so much that way when you have eight or 10 years left in your career. But when you’re at the end like this, it can put pressure on you and make things different and difficult. I have to be as positive and engaged every day in a different set of circumstances and try to keep getting better to give myself a chance.

Q: On how he felt today in practice:
Nash: I don’t know about a quick comeback but I was encouraged. I practiced today some and I feel OK. I have no doubt that I’ll get back on the court. I think with all the issues with my spine and my condition, it’s a matter of how sustainable is it. That’s what I’m working hard on every day – to try to develop that quality, endurance and movements so I don’t decline and be susceptible to all the demands of the game.

Q: On what the last week of rehab went:
Nash: It got me back on the court. I went from not being able to practice to being able to practice. I made a lot of improvements.

Q: On the plan moving forward from today:
Nash: I don’t know if I can give you the actual minutes, but definitely it was great to get up and down for 10 minutes. Hopefully (it’s) more tomorrow – whatever that is – without setbacks in the morning or the next day. I’ll just keep progressing. It’s unfortunate. It’s a tricky situation because I think typically you say: ‘I practice 10 today, if I practice 20 tomorrow and 30 on Thursday, I play on Friday.’ I think right now, there’s still some other subjective tests to make sure this is sustainable and not something that is not as tenuous as it has been recently where you feel good enough to play, but you play and it just deteriorates. It takes a lot of resolve to continue on that path everyday to try and really lighten things and strengthen and give yourself a chance.

Q: On if it’s out of the realm of possibility he’ll suit up Friday at Sacramento:
Nash: I don’t know if it’s out of the realm, but I’d say it’s very unlikely and very doubtful.

Q: On if there’s added pressure to return with Farmar out for four weeks:
Nash: For one, you want to be out there and two, the more games you miss, the longer you’re off the court, the farther it feels from the game. You lose your touch, your conditioning and your rhythm. Still, with all the injuries I faced and played with throughout the preseason and season, I still haven’t felt in touch with my game yet. It’s tough.

Q: On if he will consider coming off the bench for the team:
Nash: I’ll do whatever I can do to help the team, but the first thing is I have to be in a position where I can sustain the demands of the game. Right now, my back is susceptible to those things and right now until I can get moving in a way consistently and able to thrive under the demands rather than be affected so greatly as it has been the last three or four weeks, that’s step one.

Q: On if he feels better now than he did at the start of training camp:
Nash: No, I’m not in any great position right now. I’m better, but I’m not sitting here saying I feel phenomenal. I feel better, and I’m moving and trending in the right direction.

Q: On if he kept in touch with any of the guys while away:
Nash: I watched everything. I texted back and forth with the staff, talked to Gary (Vitti) a couple times, but I didn’t really talk to them. I was in the gym twice a day and usually they were on the court when I was going home. It was tough to be so far away.

Injury Update: Steve Nash

2013 Global Games - ShanghaiLakers Injury Report Point guard Steve Nash played just 13 minutes against Minnesota before the coaching staff elected to sit him after halftime because of back pain.

“I’m concerned,” coach Mike D’Antoni said postgame. “He was struggling physically tonight, you could just see it on his face and that’s why I took him out. We shut him down more or less. He was struggling.”

Steve Blake also expressed concern for his teammate.

“I hate to see him struggling like that with injuries,” Blake said. “Hopefully we can get him back (soon).”

Postgame, Nash addressed assembled media members and discussed his injury.

Nash has played in six of the team’s eight games this season, sitting out both times during the team’s two back-to-back contests. The 18-year NBA veteran has consistently acknowledged that he still deals with nerve damage from a lower leg fracture suffered last year at Portland.

Jodie Meeks, who finished with 16 points, started in place of Nash alongside Blake in the second half.

Lakers Open Practice in Beijing

practice1Lakers practice on Sunday morning had all of the usual components: dissection of the offense; drills on defense; shooting work; and on the bright side for the team, participation from Steve Nash (ankle), Wesley Johnson (strained foot), Jordan Farmar (strained calf) and Ryan Kelly (foot).

And, oh yeah, the team is in Beijing, China.

“It’s really exciting to be here,” said Farmar. “I was actually here with the Nets once before, but it’s great to have this much time to spend with teammates, and have a cultural experience from some huge basketball fans.”

nash1Farmar strained his left calf in L.A.’s first preseason game last Saturday, and has yet to return to game action, but said he’s feeling better by the day and hopes to return to game action soon. The team’s next game is on Tuesday, against Golden State in Beijing, and he’s calling himself a question mark at this time.

Kelly is also a question mark for that game, but the second round pick out of Duke continues to ramp up his work in practice and participated in all of Sunday’s session.

Johnson left the team’s second preseason game (Sunday vs. Denver) in the first half and has yet to return to action, but did practice fully for the first time, and hopes to play on Tuesday. Likewise, Nash thinks he’ll play against Golden State. His ankle continues to be bothersome, but he practiced in full before icing down (pictured) after the fact.

As such, everybody on the roster but Kobe Bryant (Achilles) practiced. Though in fairness, Bryant’s handling of his incredible celebrity in China appears* to be pretty hard work in its own right.
*Check for videos throughout the week.

After practice, the players and team staff boarded some buses destined for the Great Wall of China, the first of many cultural experiences of the week in the Far East.

Friday Practice Roundup

blog_131004nashLakers swingman Nick Young fully participated in Friday’s practice after missing the end of Thursday’s with an ankle injury. Young says he tweaked the ankle on Tuesday, but there had been some lingering pain. He maintains that although the ankle isn’t 100 percent, the pain will be manageable.

“It’s feeling good,” Young said. “I came in early and got some treatment, so I should be ready to go (on Saturday).”

While Young is expected to suit up, both Steve Nash and Pau Gasol are unlikely to play in Saturday’s preseason game vs. Golden State. The coaching staff will continue to monitor the two as they work their way back physically.

“(Nash) is good,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He said he felt really good and didn’t want to push it too much. He probably won’t play tomorrow, and then play Sunday. Pau (won’t) play back to back’s. I’m thinking they should play together, so it’ll likely be Sunday.”