"I think it will be at least another two weeks," Steve Nash told USA Today on Monday night. "I can move. I can shoot. I just can't run full speed. And I'm not even in shape. I'll probably need at least a week of practice once I start running."
With exactly two weeks until Christmas, the Lakers only want one thing for the holiday: a healthy Steve Nash.
Coach Mike D’Antoni thought he got his Christmas present early when he was selected to take over the Lakers ahead of the legendary Phil Jackson. However, D’Antoni’s time at the helm has been filled with more frustration, disappointment, and pressure than success, joy, and winning.
The Lakers are 4-7 in D’Antoni’s brief tenure with the Lakers.
To this point, D’Antoni’s time in charge has been defined by his decisions to bench forward Pau Gasol late in games and leave center Dwight Howard on the floor when teams employ the "Hack-a-Howard."
Neither strategy has shown real promise to this point.
Gasol promptly decided to take a break from playing after he realized his coach didn’t think he was good enough to help win the game down the stretch. Gasol decided to rest his knees and return healthy without setting any real timeline on his recovery. The Lakers went on to lose three of the next four games.
Howard’s free throw shooting stance is more understandable considering the Lakers and D’Antoni hope to keep Howard happy enough to re-sign a long term contract next season.
The Lakers and D’Antoni could have used a boost after the slow start to December, but the update on Nash’s return serves to suck the wind out of an already deflated team. The Lakers and D’Antoni know that this team is not going to take its real shape until Nash is quarterbacking the offense.
As a result, Christmas day cannot come soon enough for the Lakers.