Steve Nash doesn’t know whether he will be an effective NBA player again because of persistent pain in his lower back.
There is one certainty for the Lakers point guard: He’s not contemplating retirement.
“No, not at all,” Nash said Friday morning of rumors that he is considering calling it a career after 18 NBA seasons. “I don’t know where that came from. For me, I realize I have about 18 months left of basketball and I want the most out of this that I can possibly get and I don’t know if that’s going to be one game or the vast majority of what’s left, but I have a long life without basketball, so I don’t want to give in too soon.
“I want to try to make the most of this opportunity to play if I can.”
Nash, who has been sidelined since the pain in his back flared up Nov. 10, said he has experienced some improvement through physical therapy. He also received an epidural injection.
In a best-case scenario, Nash would resume practicing after the Lakers return from a three-game trip late next week. But there is a larger issue than trying to return as soon as possible.
“The way I look at this is, I can get back to health; it’s just how sustainable is it with all the unpredictable forces and demands on my back?” Nash said. “I want to make sure that I’m not racing to get back but really solve this problem as well as I can so I can sustain it whenever I do come back.”
Nash, who turns 40 in February and has one more season left on his Lakers contract, proposed an idea for extending his career.
“I still feel like if the NBA were kind enough to play once a week, I’d probably be pretty good,” said Nash, who was already sitting out one night in back-to-back situations. “But the fact that we have to play 3 1/2 times a week or whatever is problematic at this point, so hopefully I can get over the hump where I can sustain two or three games a week and play at a high level.”
Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant did not participate in the Lakers’ shootaround and was officially ruled out of the game against Golden State. Chris Kaman is considered doubtful because of back soreness.