D'Antoni changes tune on Nash return

March, 19, 2014
Mar 19
9:46
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni opened the door for the chance that Steve Nash could return at some point this season after the veteran guard supposedly shut it down last week because of nerve root irritation in his back and hamstrings.

"It's still a possibility," D'Antoni said Wednesday when asked if Nash could play at some point in the Lakers' final 15 games. "We have to see where he is physically. ... We'll have to see some practices and see how it goes."

The Lakers are down to one healthy point guard in Kendall Marshall, with Jordan Farmar out for a minimum of two weeks because of a strained right groin.

The 40-year-old Nash told Time Warner Cable SportsNet on Tuesday, "I feel pretty good. I feel as though I could play now at a good level. The question is could I sustain it?"

Nash has not played since Feb. 11 when he exited just before halftime against the Utah Jazz.

"We'll have to see," D'Antoni said. "Again, we’re just trying to get him totally healthy. You just don't want to send him out there and play him when he's not healthy. The last time we tried, if you remember, he didn't make it through a game. We can't have him start the game and then at halftime not be able to come out. We got to look and see and maybe try it in a couple practices and see if he can get 100 percent healthy, but right now he's not there."

The two-time league MVP has averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 assists in 10 games this season while shooting just 36 percent from the field and 31.6 percent on 3-pointers -- well below his career marks of 14.3 points, 8.5 assists, 49 percent shooting and 42.8 percent from deep.

Farmar has fared better, averaging 10.4 points and 4.7 assists, and shooting 45.7 percent from 3. However, like Nash, Farmar has missed many games this season -- 31 games and counting including Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs -- because of two separate tears in his right hamstring plus his strained groin.

"It's just been tough for him," D'Antoni said of Farmar. "Freaky stuff for him. He's played really well, trying to find his footing, coming back. We'll see if he can come back. Hopefully he can but that's not for sure. He's had a great year."

Dave McMenamin

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0