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Nash has broken nose, says he will be fine

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PHOENIX (AP)

Steve Nash has a broken nose but says he doesn't expect it to be a problem for him in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.

The Phoenix playmaker sustained the slight fracture in a fourth-quarter collision with Derek Fisher in the Suns' 118-109 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.

He spoke briefly with reporters after practice on Monday before leaving to have the nose put back in place by a specialist.

Nash played the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals with his right eye swollen shut after taking an inadvertent elbow from San Antonio's Tim Duncan.

``I'm lucky. I've had a couple bumps or bruises that haven't affected my play,'' Nash said. ``Those don't bother you. It's the ones that limit you that you hope you don't have to face.''

He said he had broken his nose ``a handful'' of times and wasn't planning to wear any protective gear or Manu Ginobili-style tape job for Tuesday night's game.

The 36-year-old point guard and two-time league MVP had 17 points and 15 assists on Sunday night with one turnover in 38 minutes. He could be seen on television trying to slide his nose back into place during the game.

``I was trying to move it while it was still fresh,'' he said. ``I know that once it sets it's harder.''

Lakers coach Phil Jackson was asked if he thought the injury would affect Nash's performance.

``This guy's gone through a lot of stuff the last two or three years in the playoffs. I don't think it's going to bother him,'' Jackson said. ``On second thought, Ginobili, it really curtailed his game. I thought his game really tailed off after the broken nose, so it's probably an individual thing.''

Nash is Canadian, and he joked after his eye injury that his hockey-loving friends make fun of what a soft sport basketball is.

``I think we would have been surprised if he would have gone out of the game,'' Nash's teammate Grant Hill said. ``He's fine. No Friday the 13th mask, no Rip Hamilton mask, no Ginobili tape. He'll be ready to go, so it wasn't that bad.''

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AP sports writer Matt Paulson contributed to this report.

Tagged: Lakers, Suns, Spurs, Steve Nash

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