EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Steve Nash is still dealing with nerve damage stemming from the fractured left leg that sabotaged his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, the 39-year-old point guard told reporters Monday.
"I'm still extremely optimistic," Nash said, coming off a win against the Atlanta Hawks in which he contributed 13 points, six assists and zero turnovers in 29 minutes. "I just think maybe the level of health is different. It is going to be a day-to-day struggle for me, and that's something I'm up for, though, and I'm optimistic that if I don't have any freak situations again I can try to get on top on all of these things.
"Really, I'm still fighting things that happened because of the broken leg, with all of the nerve issues. So, it is what it is. I'm optimistic still that I can get to the highest level I can get at this stage. I think if [Sunday] night is an indication, if I can get up another level or two, I'm going to be pretty effective."
When asked whether the nerves cause him to feel "tingling" or "hurt," Nash said, "Both, in different scenarios."
Nash missed 32 games during the 2012-13 regular season and had to sit out the final two games of the Lakers' first-round sweep by the San Antonio Spurs after receiving several epidurals as a last-ditch effort to try to alleviate some of the pain in his hip and groin, stemming from the leg injury, that prevented him from even being able to sprint this past spring.
"I still feel that almost every day all over," Nash said of the nerve discomfort. "It's not just in that spot [in his left leg]. It's like the nerve system and nerve roots are on guard. So the whole system in a way is different now. It's just a little more sensitive, and you face different things because of it. So, freaky, freaky thing, but I can't complain. I'm still playing basketball and I'm still effective and I can get better physically and my game will come around the more I play."
Nash was limited by a sore left ankle and stiff neck during the preseason, averaging 4.0 points and 3.6 assists against 1.7 turnovers in 18.4 minutes per game while shooting 42.3 percent from the field.
He has improved slightly in the regular season, averaging 7.0 points and 5.3 assists against 1.7 turnovers in 24.3 minutes per game, but he is shooting just 29.2 percent overall. He also played in only three of the Lakers' four games so far, with coach Mike D'Antoni choosing to sit him when the team played the second night of a back-to-back against the Golden State Warriors.
The 18-year veteran said he is working daily with Judy Seto, the Lakers' head physical therapist, to try to get his body right for the long haul.
"She's tremendous," Nash said. "She relieves as much of the issues I'm facing as [she] can, and the rest is just recovery time and doing everything I can to prepare to do the best I can."
Information from Beto Duran of ESPNLA 710 Radio was used in this report.