New coach Mike D'Antoni and the Lakers would love to have Steve Nash back on the court sooner rather than later, but progress is slow for the aging point guard.
On Friday’s shoot around ahead of the Lakers game against Memphis, Steve Nash told ESPN he still is unable to jog or do any on-court work without feeling pain. With Nash set to be reevaluated on Monday, another week may be gone before Nash even considers a return to the practice floor.
This is a tough blow to the Lakers, who initially said Nash would be out anywhere from one to six weeks with a small non-displaced fracture. Three and a half weeks later, Nash is still no further along in his progress.
The Lakers have taken a big gamble on Nash this season, but all signs point to the team being patient with their 38-year-old asset. The hiring of coach Mike D’Antoni was viewed as a double-down on Nash this season, as D’Antoni coached Nash in Phoenix.
Since taking the job, D’Antoni has made constant mention of Nash's greatness within his offensive system. Also, D’Antoni has reiterated that the offense will be up and running the moment Nash gets back. "As soon as [Nash] gets there, I know, give him an hour and a half and he'll have the offense down and running it like a clock," D’Antoni said on Tuesday.
How integral Nash is to D’Antoni’s offense cannot be overstated, but what remains in question is how successful D’Antoni can be without Nash.
D’Antoni has said things like: "Steve will run the offense," and "Steve is a big part of this, and we need to get him healthy and get him back." D’Antoni has been verbally forthright about his need for Nash in the offense.
After an embarrassing loss to Sacramento on Wednesday, D'Antoni, once again, discussed what having Nash back would mean to the team. With losses piling up, the Lakers need to do more than just wait for a 38-year-old point guard with a broken leg to come back. The Lakers need to build a defensive foundation that will succeed with or without the ailing point guard.