Pau Gasol #16 (L) and Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers sit on the bench on December 14, 2012. Both players expect to be starting for the Lakers on Christmas Day.
On Friday, Steve Nash practiced for the second day in a row and had no problems completing every task asked of him. His return from a displaced fracture in his left leg is imminent. Nash did not entirely rule out playing on Saturday against the Golden State Warriors, but he said it was not likely.
If Nash misses Saturday’s game, as expected, he will have missed 25 1/2 games with the injury. That amounts to 31 percent of the 82-game season. And the Lakers did not fare all that well in Nash’s absence.
Although Nash left the door open for a return on Saturday, he said, “Christmas, for sure.” That is a confident statement from a player who has missed nearly a full third of the season and has not played in nearly two months.
Nash’s Christmas Day return sounds like it was ripped straight out of a Hollywood script: a ridiculed and struggling team of superstars gets their offensive leader back for Christmas as they get set to take on the best team in the Eastern Conference with the whole country watching. The Hollywood ending would be a Christmas Day win, an elongated winning streak, and ultimately a championship.
Prior to Monday’s practice, Nash had no set timeline attached to his return and not many would venture a guess as to when he would return. (Save for our predictions on Dec. 14 and Dec. 16 on Triple Threat's Twitter account ... Hollywood is rather predictable, after all!)
The Los Angeles Lakers have a trip to Oakland scheduled for Saturday night, and they are capable of winning that game. The Lakers met the Warriors in Bernie Bickerstaff’s first game in charge and won by 24 points earlier this season. With or without Nash, Saturday is not going to be nearly as easy as that game was. However, if the Lakers can win in Oakland, they will be one game below .500 with Nash set to return on Christmas Day.
Hopefully, Nash’s return will also be the last time the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers have a losing record.