Good news came out of the Los Angeles Lakers headquarters this Saturday. Steve Nash fully participated in the Purple and Gold’s scrimmage today and will be available for the team’s post-season debut tomorrow against the Spurs at San Antonio.
Nash has been dealing with soreness on his hamstring, hips and back, which has sidelined the 39-year-old for the past eight games. The former two-time MVP’s last appearance happened against the Sacramento Kings on March 30th, when he was reduced to a little less than two minutes before being forced to leave the court. But an epidural shot taken on Tuesday has allowed the point guard to get back into playing shape, as stated by Nash himself to Lakers.com:
I plan on playing unless there’s a setback between now & then. So far so good.
The possibility of Nash coming back as soon as tomorrow was acknowledged by Mike D’Antoni, who told ESPN’s Dave McMenanim that “he’s ready to roll”. However, the head coach didn’t commit to any predictions regarding the guard’s minutes after the layoff. As stated by D’Antoni to the Daily News’ Mark Medina:
Obviously he’s not going to play a lot of minutes. Whatever he can give us will be great. We’ll play it by ear. As the series goes on, he should get stronger.
Nash has averaged 12.7 points and 6.7 assists per game while appearing on 50 games, all of them as a starter, in his first season as a member of the Lakers. He’s just missed another “180 shooting” year after hitting 43.8% from beyond the arc, 92.2% from the free throw line, but 49.7% from the field.
In other news, Lakers’ forward Jordan Hill appears to be one step closer to his return after undergoing a left hip surgery on January 23rd. The 25-year-old power forward participated in a full-court drill, but without contact, as noted by McMenamin. Hill is expected to need another three to four weeks before being ready to play again, so any comeback hopes rely on the Lakers’ ability to go deep into the playoffs.
The Lakers will initiate their post-season journey tomorrow against the Spurs in San Antonio at 12:30 P.M. (PDT).