Steve Nash Is Done — For Now

LOS ANGELES – Steve Nash is focused on 2013-14.

“Put it this way,” Nash said, “I am optimistic and I feel like I’ll be great next year.”

This year, however, is over. The 39-year-old point guard will end his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers essentially the way it began — in pain.

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni officially ruled out Nash for Sunday’s Game 4 (7 p.m. ET, TNT), a must-win for L.A. to force an improbable, seemingly impossible, Game 5 in San Antonio. For the first time during this lopsided series that the Spurs lead 3-0, Nash was not in practice gear and was not available following a Lakers workout.

“It’s the worst,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose San Antonio teams have long and colorful playoff history against Nash and his old Phoenix Suns. “It’s not just that he’s a good player, a great player, he’s a competitor. He’s one of the all-time competitors. To see him sitting on the sideline, you got to know that it’s killing him, it’s just killing him. I feel bad in the regard.”

Nash is dealing with back, hip and hamstring problems that are all related. He tweaked the injuries on the final play of Game 2, tried a cortisone shot to his hip and two epidural shots to his back in hopes of taking the court in Game 3, but he couldn’t do it.

“The irony, I guess, is that the back doesn’t affect me functionally, but the back is probably the root of all the problems,” said Nash, who has dealt with back issues for years. “It’s the hamstring and the hip that really prevented me, and I tweaked the whole system there on the last play of the half and it all went downhill from there.”

The Lakers’ ridiculously long injury list grew by one — and why not? — with Metta World Peace removing himself from Game 4 after sitting out the second half of Game 3. He irritated the right knee that he had surgically repaired just a month ago. Also out for what will will be Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks and, obviously, Kobe Bryant.

“It’s just been a crazy year. You can point back to the very start,” Nash said on Friday. “The bottom line is there’s no one reason, it’s just bad luck and a bunch of circumstances and, you know, it’s a shame.”

But Nash, as physically fit and nutritionally conscious as any player in the league, is planning for big things next season when the Lakers could well put essentially the same roster back on the floor if they re-sign Dwight Howard this summer. Pau Gasol could be gone, and Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark are free agents along with Howard.

Nash has two more seasons on his contract at $19 million. When training camp opens next October, speculation will be if Nash’s body can hold up. This season started with a freak incident, a broken leg and nerve damage in the second game of the season at Portland. Nash will turn 40 before the next All-Star Game.

Nash said he doesn’t discount the destructive forces of time on the body, but he said it’s unfair to blame this season’s series of ailments strictly on his age. His durability over 17 seasons is nothing short of remarkable. He missed 32 games this season, four times as many as in any recent season. He sat out eight in 2008-09, and you have to go back to 1999-2000 to find a season when he missed more.

“It’d be foolish not to say that it [age] could play some part, but I also think it’s really myopic to say that because I finally had an injury bug it’s age,” Nash said. “I think the biggest scenario is that everybody gets hurt at some point. The fact that I’m getting hurt now and haven’t been hurt before, it’s easy for everyone to say he’s getting old. I mean look around the room, what about the other guys? Is it because they’re getting old?”

Look beyond the Lakers. Look at the unfortunate injury list across the league: Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (meniscus tear) is 24. Denver’s Danilo Gallinari (ACL) is 24. Golden State’s David Lee is 29. Boston’s Rajon Rondo is 27. Chicago’s Derrick Rose is 24.

Barring a miraculous comeback by the Lakers starting with Sunday’s Game 4, we have seen the last of Nash for this season.

But he’ll be back, and D’Antoni, whose greatest success came with Nash in Phoenix, believes he’ll have plenty left.

“I mean he’s dying inside,” D’Antoni said of Nash missing playoff games. “Then again, I think he’s excited about trying to get his body straight and coming back and having a great year. They’re on a mission, he, Kobe, Steve Blake, all of them are getting ready for another year.

“That’s them. We’re trying to lengthen this [series] and trying to win a game on Sunday.”

Series Hub: Spurs vs. Lakers

47 Comments

  1. I really like Nash, maybe he’s got another season in him.

  2. BJ says:

    Steve Nash is done… period. They need to get rid of him and go find a talented young gifted player to be their guard. if the Laker mgmt is smart they will look right across the hallway and grab Eric Bledsoe from the Clippers when they let him go this summer. they are going to give CP3 a big contract for $108 million. So they will not be able to play Bledsoe and he’s a young, talented, exlposive, strong PG that can be the start of the Lakers moving ahead towards another title in a few years.

  3. excalibur says:

    they dont need dwight hes just overrated im sad because they let andrew bynum slip away. bynum is way better than howard.

  4. Andy says:

    The only thing Lakers needs to do for next seasons is to get rid f the stupid coach, D’Antoni and nash who are both useless. This is the mitake of mitchpak!

  5. Row says:

    It’s not just bad luck. Yes, injuries were big, but even at their most healthy, the team never really jelled.

    and freak, Nash, it’s not like you can complain about injuries and just say that such was a bad roll of the dice, you’re freaking 39 dude! What else would you expect? It’s a given, not a mystery, that older players are more susceptible to injury, especially when pushed hard (ahem.. kobe..)

    this isn’t fate, it’s a team that was ill conceived and poorly managed and coached.

  6. Dew says:

    Spurs shut down the Western Forum in 99…Now, they are shutting down the Laker team!

  7. coach says:

    it’s funny that it’s always the coach on who to blame, hahaha
    kobe got injured, blame the coach
    nash sitting on game 4 ( coz of his back) blame the coach
    rest of the lakers got injured, blame the coach
    failing this season (mostly because of the players’ injuries) blame the coach

  8. Dew says:

    Someone mentioned that Sasha, S. Brown, Odom, & Ariza are all free agents. Lakers need to get all of them back. Replace their current bench with these guys. Possibly trade Meta as he is not doing a damn thing. Possibly the trade of Meta for Ariza would be a good deal for them. Not a Laker fan by any means, but they need a new bench and to come back healthy and stay healthy next year by limiting minutes on Kobe, Gasol and Nash if they are going to have any playoff success. This also means that D’Antoni will need to be gone as he has no concept of resting players.

  9. chandler says:

    this year 90 percent of the artcile have been about the stupid lakers!

  10. Herr says:

    Typical Lakers always quitting early when they know they can’t win. Nash is done. Howard is proving he’s nothing but a tall moron, and Kobe’s injury will haunt the rest of his career.

    The Lakers are a joke, and are only in the playoffs because Stern and Kobe promised the fanbase that they’d be there, so Stern rigged the refs. Just look at the game following the promise against Portland. Even Laker fans, who lack intelligence, said the game was pathetically rigged.

    I can’t wait until the funeral service for the Lakers tonight. You know why they’re called the Lakers? Because they’ll be spending all summer at the Lake right after tonight when the Spurs send them home fishing.

    • Your Daddy says:

      Hahaha Kobe won’t come back look what they said about Adrian Peterson and he rushed for 2,000+ yards

  11. john says:

    Fire d antoni he stinks and get back phil.

  12. daddykong says:

    NASH GO BACK TO CANADA AND PLAY WITH RUDY GAY, DEROZAN, AND ROSS, TORONTO IS THE FUTURE. THEY ARE GOING TO WIN MORE GAMES THAN LA NEXT YEAR

  13. basketball geek says:

    guys its going to be Lakers bucks in the finals

  14. Huge Lakers Fan says:

    This playoff’s season is officially over for all top key players in LAL squad. None will be battling with SAS for the best of 6 series. The lists of injuried top key players is really high & those able to compete are low key players with no form of agressiveness like captain black mamba who’s the veteran of LAL. Without KB around, all else is fake. LAL succumb to the defeat against SAS nonetheless. & LAL winning the championships for this playoff’s season is highly impossible with KB out for good.

    Without a second delay, game 4 is a trophy for SAS again. Well, SAS quit showing crocodile tears to the NBA. You’re the winners against 7 seeds LAL in this playoff’s season.

    What’s going to happened next seasons in LAL is still doubtful after all. Will the healthy KB & the rest be back again in the pink of health & with a full strength schedule with minimal injuried players on the lists? ? Sounds highly impossible to predict either. Coz, in sports, anything can happened & take place wiout warnings after all.

    & hopefully, LAL dun rely too heavily on KB when he returns after all. Every player needs to play a part of his dues as LAL team player. This is fair & square to the club & KB as well.

    Just like in Miami Heat. All players stepped up & did their part to win the series & to beat the bucks to their games to take the leads in 3 games. That’s the way a championship team stays together as one.

    LAL should followed suit Miami Heat’s championship team formations strategy in order to win da games as one team & not all falls on one particular player to win the glory & the championships rings. This is not fair & square at all.

    LAL slacked in this formations strategy which the Miami did it since winning their 1st ever world championships rings & glory last season. & LAL team should reacquired zen maestro back as LAL coach as well. Bring back the glory of LAL. Just like what M.J. did in Chicago Bulls before he retired for good after winning his 6th rings & final chicago bulls championships title. What a great way to retire from active b-balls games as the bulls top club point guard.

  15. DAN says:

    WHAT? :))

  16. Adam says:

    Lakers has o get rid of Nash. Use their amnesty if it has to go that far. He is not fit to start in a championshipteam and he is not worth a benchseat with that salary.

  17. tanibanana says:

    Next year should be his next year regardless of the outcome..

  18. Joj. Jay says:

    How many times can phil retire and wan to come back , so sick of this egomaniac, if he is such a grat coach go coach a team from scratch to a championship he cant do it , he wants ready made team , plus he cant travel to road games , his hips are cardboard , he needs to go away , he just want people saying bring back Phil.

  19. Bryan says:

    Lakers needs to change the coach

  20. Boere says:

    The Lakers are in the worst position they’ve been in for years and I don’ think it’s a bad thing for their inflated self image. Start rebuilding by starting to be humble and realistic. The team created to give Kobe one more ring has fallen apart. New goals have to be set for the franchise and Kobe and Nash should not be part of them. The truth hurts.

    • BJ says:

      I agree 100% Boere. Kobe, Nash, Gasol and Metta should not be apart of the future franchise plans. Howard doest fit in LA either, he should just leave and go to Houston which I think he will. they need to find young new blood to put out their and build around them.

  21. ImJusSayin says:

    Players win games, Coaches win championships “No D” ‘antoni has not and will never. How many has kobe or Jordan won without Phil? People say Defense wins championships probably because that is the best piece of the game a coach can control. Nash is an excellent on floor coach but this is not a group of player he could lead. Howard is a poison and does not need to be resigned. I would make sure I got earl back before going after dwight at least. Then again if antoni is back it will not matter who they have.

  22. eric says:

    LEBRON WILL BE A SEASON MVP , FINALS MVP AND HE WILL HOLD AGAIN THE LARRY O BRIEN TROPHY FOR THE SECOND TIME! YOU KNOW WHY???? BECAUSE FOR THE SECOND YEAR SO MANY STARS ARE INjURED!! LOL , no way will lebron wins the championship with full season ( not lock out ) and no star players are with inhury lollllllllll lebron

    Reply

  23. eric says:

    LEBRON WILL BE A SEASON MVP , FINALS MVP AND HE WILL HOLD AGAIN THE LARRY O BRIEN TROPHY FOR THE SECOND TIME! YOU KNOW WHY???? BECAUSE FOR THE SECOND YEAR SO MANY STARS ARE INHURED!! LOL , no way will lebron wins the championship with full season ( not lock out ) and no stars from different teams are ok to play lollllllllll lebron

  24. Thompson says:

    Nash should call it quits as someone stated, realistically he is 40 years old and will returning from another injury. hes a huge liability on defense. Hang it up Nash you are done.

  25. Floppysocks23 says:

    He’ll come back better stronger for sure he always has, he is as tough as they get

  26. ALJOn says:

    Be strong nash in next season…. ur my idol!!!

  27. dynamite says:

    You all talk about resigning Odom, Ariza and signing JR Smith? Letting Pau leave and benching Nash? Do you even watch basketball? Have you seen the Lakers in previous seasons with those guys?

    Kobe comes back, Nash comes back, Pau comes back. Dwight comes back. Build the team TRIANGLE *hinthint* style. Learn to funnel offense through the two dominant scorers. Learn to play TEAM defense. Point guards won’t kill you in a long series. Chauncy never won Finals MVP. Neither will Westbrook or Lin. Nash can handle what he needs to, he’s smart enough to still play with the best, and with a decent coach Nash only needs to set the pace. Kobe can still score. Dwight can still score. World Peace can still defend. Hill will pick it up next season as will Blake. Pick up complimentary pieces that will develop along with Dwight after Mamba hangs them up. Then the team revolves around Dwight.

    Bottom line, we needed Phil. Still need him.

  28. Andrew says:

    I feel sorry for Nash. I really hope he could play out of I injury for a season and win a NBA championship before he retires. Get better Nash. You are a WARRIOR.

  29. BBALL says:

    They need a new coach.

  30. LA bound says:

    Guide to fixing the lakers in 8 easy steps!!!
    1. Lakers have money 1 billion dollar TV deal last summer so stop being cheap, (2013 free agents list is deep of good role players & stars)
    2.Fire D’ Flake & Hire Phil
    3. Wait til free agency to make moves if dwight leaves oh well now u have space and money
    4. sign back ( Odom, Ariza, Farmer, Sasha vujacic, Shannon brown their all free agents this summer + pay them what they want
    5. Keep Gasol, Jordan hill, and earl clark, Kobe, meeks, MWP, nash
    6. Obtain another decent shooter or athletic guard to play alongside Kobe
    7. Every Lakers game in the 4th here MVP chants at the free throw line follow by, we want taco’s, and last but not least buzzer sounds I LOVE LA!
    8. Your welcome….

  31. noyb says:

    Fire D’Antoni, trade Kobe, trade Pau, trade Nash, trade Metta, and START OVER, rebuilding around Dwight. Everybody is washed up, old and DONE.

  32. Lakers Fan says:

    No disrespect to Nash, but IMO he’s a backup PG at best. His wisdom is unmatched, but his age and condition is limiting him. If I’m Kupchak I’ll blow this team apart and chase for players like JR Smith (Knicks), R. Gay (Raptors), J Smith and Korver (Hawks), Favors (Jazz), Williams (T-Wolves) and woo back S. Brown (Suns) and Sessions (Bobcats). I’m pretty certain they can get these players (or some of them) if they can resign D12. With D12, Kobe, Meeks and Hill at core they have a good chance of attracting prospects.

  33. TeamRsports says:

    i agree for that..

  34. Gary Payton says:

    To bad about Nash, get well!

  35. johnny dawson says:

    The Lakers had their best season ever. You wonder, how can I say that? Because they landed their 400 million dollar multi-year television deal. Jerry Buss the genius landed that deal with smoke and mirrors: “four hall of fame players on a single team.” He closed that deal on a promise. For Jerry Buss, unlike many other owners, his ball club was his primary business. Before he died he closed the deal of a lifetime, so 2013 was a GREAT year.

  36. LakerFan says:

    STEVE NASH will be back strong next season. I believe in him, He’s a great competitor and a Great player. Guys please STOP blaming anyone for the disappointing season of the Lakers because all year the Lakers dealing with injuries so we just hope that all of them are healthy next season. #GoLakers #WeBELIEVE!

  37. Kal says:

    good article Jeff. makes up for your LeBron pampering.

    Nash isn’t the only one with freak injuries. but… the reality is his numbers have been steadily declining the past few seasons. he doesn’t have the same energy of the MVP years. and age is bound to play into his body breaking down sooner than later…

    on the other hand, we will see next year won’t we. maybe him and Kobe both come back strong. but if they don’t have Gasol? or Howard? where will the Lakers be?

  38. 416 says:

    Nash, wish you a great 13-14 season and get the hell out of LA!

  39. W/E says:

    Nash is way too optimistic, comon u expect to come back at age 40 after the injuries and compete? especially a guy like Nash who could never play defence cause he never had athletic ability and can barely like jump 2 inches from the ground, even his offence went downhill the last 2 years, get real who would want a 40 year old as a starter especially a player who lost every bit of his athleticsim and cant defend anyone, he cant compete at NBA standards anymore, its impossible for him to go against the younger elite PGs he should retire start a coaching career instead. If i was the lakers i would invest on young guards and get Nash to retire and make him a PG trainer for the team.

    • BJ says:

      Did they not get rid of Fisher because he was old and useless? Why did they get Nash in the first place? dumb decision by the Laker Mgmt, nothing else. they have made many dumb decision lately under Dr. Buss son’s incompetent leadership.

  40. holyspectator says:

    great, now tell me something i dont know