Nash, Gasol near return for Lakers
by By Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
The Lakers are finally on the mend.
They have lost 14 of the first 25 games of this season that was expected to be so special, but a person close to Steve Nash confirmed the point guard is hoping to return on Saturday at the Golden State Warriors after being out with a left leg injury since Oct. 31. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Nash, who had a fracture in the left fibula and later suffered setbacks because of nagging nerve pain in the leg, practiced for the first time in Los Angeles on Monday and told reporters that he may play in the Lakers’ Christmas Day game against the New York Knicks. Whether he’s back against the Warriors or the Knicks, it appears forward Pau Gasol will beat him back to the floor. Gasol, who has been out since Dec. 2 with knee tendinitis, also returned to a light practice on Monday and is expected to play in the Lakers’ home game Tuesday against the Charlotte Bobcats, as long as he feels ready after that morning’s shootaround.
Thus, the latest fork in this bumpy Lakers’ road nears.
After their 1-4 start led to the firing of Mike Brown and a 4-1 run under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff, the Lakers are 6-9 under Mike D’Antoni. Time for a turnaround is running out. The team has resisted inquiries to trade Gasol because of the desire to see their vision for this roster realized, but the pressure will inevitably build if the so-called Super Team doesn’t click sooner rather than later. Part of the patience is tied to Nash, as he signed on this summer in large part because he wanted to play with Gasol and that request has been respected so far.
The schedule is in the Lakers’ favor, as they play just five games the rest of December (vs. Charlotte, at Golden State, vs. the Knicks, at Denver, vs. Portland). Nine of the Lakers’ 16 games in January are at home as well.… [For more on Steve Nash, Pau Gasol near return for Los Angeles Lakers, click here.]