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It’s hard to be considered a tough guy when you play alongside somebody called Kobe Bryant, but Steve Nash might do it. Remember when he simply popped his nose back in place after getting hit by Derek Fisher? That even made former teammate Grant Hill cringe like he was watching a horror movie. Now as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Nash will have his first injury challenge just three games into the regular season.

After suffering a knee-to-knee collision with Blazers guard Damian Lilliard in the second quarter of Wednesday night’s game, Nash was forced to leave the court earlier than expected. The 38-year old point guard tried to come back in the second half but ultimately had to head to the locker room for good, after just a little over 1 minute into the third quarter.

The injury was later reported by’s Mike Trudell as a “lower leg contusion”, which should translate to a sore left shin. The team has listed Nash as “doubtful” to play against the Clippers later tonight and even though that usually means the player is out, Steve still expects to be out there to match-up against Chris Paul.

“I hope so”, Nash stated when questioned if he will be able to play tonight, “maybe I’m too optimistic to say doubtful, but it’s definitely a “touch-and-go.”

Steve added that the injury is not anything major structurally, just being a “contusion in a bad area.”

If Nash can’t go, look for Steve Blake to be his replacement in the starting lineup, with Chris Duhon as the main backup at the point guard position.

The Lakers will face the Clippers later tonight at 7.30 P.M. (PDT).