Is Steve Nash sandbagging?

December, 20, 2012
12/20/12
8:43
PM PT
Shelburne By Ramona Shelburne
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- To hear Steve Nash tell it "a lot of people are excited to see an out-of-shape guy" play. Not only is his broken left leg still going to be painful for another three to four weeks, even if he's able to play again, his conditioning isn't close to the standards he generally holds himself to.

"I'm not in great condition after being inactive for the past seven weeks," Nash said Thursday after going through his first full contact practice since the injury. "But that's just kind of the harsh reality is that it's going to be a painful period where I try to not only get myself back in shape but try to find my game and rhythm and timing."

Nash's plan is to see how he feels Friday morning, then again on Saturday, and decide that afternoon whether to play for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.

The reasons to exercise caution are very real though. Another setback could set him back a very long time. Thursday he even used the phrase "is it going to prevent me from playing the rest of the season."

"The pain is not the issue," Nash said. "I don't mind playing through the pain. It's more, 'Am I doing damage to it? And is it going to prevent me from playing the rest of this season, so we're going to just measure that as the next 2-3 days go by."

Scary, right?

Demoralizing, too. Until you hear from Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni, who just might've cracked a smile just thinking about Nash's imminent return.

"Sandbagging? Well ... He's a two-time MVP so maybe he is. But to most mortals, he's pretty good," D'Antoni said, when asked about whether Nash was downplaying expectations. "He looked good. Real good."

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POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
24.6 4.9 1.4 35.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.3
AssistsK. Bryant 4.9
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BlocksE. Davis 1.2