HANG TIME WEST – Hoping for a chance to evaluate the roster at full strength before the trade deadline, or at least what passes for full strength in their season of health miseries, the Lakers could get both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash back for the Jan. 28 game against the Pacers, coach Mike D’Antoni said Friday.
While that is still too far in the future to get definitive, D’Antoni said, “Hopefully both of them are ready,” as quoted by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles News Group. That target date is the day after Bryant and Nash are scheduled to be re-evaluated, meaning they could go right from being cleared to the active list without a practice.
Bryant has been out since fracturing his left knee Dec. 17 against the Grizzlies, which came six games into his return from a torn Achilles’ tendon. He was originally expected to miss about six weeks.
Nash last played Nov. 10, a 13-minute stint against the Timberwolves, before being forced out by nerve damage in his back. Dealing with the injury since last season, Nash appeared to be nearing a return to the lineup just as Bryant rejoined the Lakers the first time on Dec. 7. But now it appears he is aiming for late this month.
The Lakers are 14-22, six games out of the final playoff spot, and have lost nine of 10. They play the Clippers tonight (10:30 ET, ESPN) and still have a seven-game, 12-day trip ahead before Bryant and Nash get re-evaluated.
The trade deadline is Feb. 20, with the Lakers facing decisions if they feel the playoffs are out of reach.