NBA

Nash to miss at least two weeks

Image: Lakers PG Steve Nash (© Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports)
Steve Nash is averaging only 4.8 assists this season.
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LOS ANGELES (AP)

Steve Nash will be out of the Los Angeles Lakers' lineup for at least two weeks with nerve root irritation.

The Lakers announced the latest injury setback for the two-time NBA MVP on Monday after Nash consulted with a back specialist.

Nash played just 13 minutes in the Lakers' loss to Minnesota on Sunday night before sitting out with pain in his back and hamstrings. He is expected to receive an epidural block on Tuesday, and will be evaluated in 10 days.

''I'm a little emotional,'' Nash said after Sunday's game. ''It's hard. I really want to play, and I really want to play the way I'm accustomed to playing. To be so limited is frustrating, and also to not know (when) kind of a clean-ish bill of health is (possible) is a little daunting, too.''

Nash is the NBA's oldest player at 39. Although the Canadian star still shows flashes of his heyday as, arguably, the best point guard of his generation, he has struggled with injuries since shortly after joining the Lakers in summer 2012.

He missed 32 of the Lakers' 82 games last season, breaking his left leg in the second game before struggling with injuries affecting his back, hip and hamstrings down the stretch. He also missed Los Angeles' last two playoff games despite getting several epidural shots for pain management.

Nash has struggled with back pain for years, but his broken leg caused new woes.

''It's nerves coming from my back,'' Nash said. ''You could call it the back, you could call it the nerves. I'm getting the pain in the hamstring. It's basically the same thing from the end of last year.''

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The Lakers have attempted to be careful this fall with Nash, who is under contract for $18 million through next season. Despite sitting out two games already this season to conserve his health on back-to-back stretches of the schedule, Nash is averaging just 6.7 points and 4.8 assists.

''I'm concerned,'' Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said after Sunday's game. ''He was struggling physically tonight. You could see it on his face, and that's why I took him out. We shut him down, more or less, and he was struggling. . . . I'm hoping (Nash will recover), like everyone else is.''

Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar and Jodie Meeks all will get more playing time in the absence of both members of Los Angeles' decorated backcourt. The Lakers have lost five of seven without Kobe Bryant, who still hasn't returned to practice from surgery on his torn Achilles' tendon in April.

Blake is off to a strong start to the season while playing both guard positions, averaging 10.0 points and 5.0 assists. Meeks is the Lakers' leading scorer this season with 12.8 points per game.

''I hate to see him struggling like that with injuries,'' Blake said of Nash. ''Hopefully, we can get him back.''

Los Angeles hosts New Orleans on Tuesday night.

Tagged: Lakers, Steve Nash, Steve Blake

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