As has been reported on numerous sites this season, including and especially www.thelakeshowlife.com, and is no news to Lakers fans, this season has plagued by injuries. More so than this Lakers fan has ever struggled through in his 14 years of devotion to the purple & gold. Nearly everyone who plays a guard position for the Lakers has been hurt at some point this year. I recently read a report that the injured players; Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake would all be evaluated when the Lakers returned from their ongoing annual “Grammy” road trip sometime early next week. Then it struck me, almost as a surprise; Steve Nash is still on the Lakers’ roster.
All season, when discussing the Lakers’ injuries, the majority of the focus as been on when Kobe would return, and rightfully so, as he is the face of the franchise. There is also mention of the pending returns of Blake and Farmar, but very little discussion on Nash. After his shocking and much publicized and hyped trade to the Lakers in the summer of 2012, Nash injured his knee in the 2nd game of that season, and due to resulting nerve damage, missed a good portion of the season, including the playoffs. Nash started this season claiming to be healthy, and hopes were raised that once Bryant returned from his injury, fans would finally see the much toted Nash/Bryant HOF back-court. Unfortunately, Nash went down again in early November, apparently still suffering from lingering nerve damage in his back. He was initially declared out for at least 2 weeks. Again, that was in November, and it is now late January, and still no sign of Nash. He can reportedly play now, but wants to continue to rehab so that he can sustain his playing time once he returns, and not miss significant time again.
Nash reportedly considered retirement in December due to his uncertainty of returning 100%. At 40 years old, he is the oldest active player in the NBA, a guaranteed 1st-ballot hall of famer, and one of the greatest point guards basketball has ever seen. He is under contract through next season, and has said he wants to get the most out of the little time he has left in his HOF career. No one will fault him for that, and he has certainly earned the right to go out on his own terms. But what if next week’s evaluation doesn’t produce the news he, and Laker nation, hopes to hear? What if he is told his body is still not responding to the rehab? The NBA season is half-way over, and Nash will have missed nearly 2 years of his 3 year contract. Again, no one will fault him for wanting to come back. If anything, he should be commended for his dedication to fulfill his contract at his age, especially when his team has no real chance at contending this season. I for one do hope Nash is able to come back and be productive, and get one last ounce of joy from playing the game he loves, and has done so much for. Lakers fans will never see the Steve Nash that we hoped for a year ago, the Steve Nash that gave us fits during those intense playoff battles when he was the franchise player for the Phoenix Suns. At this point, the best we can hope for is a Steve Nash who can run up and down the court, and walk off it under his own strength, on his own terms.