Report: Steve Nash out at least another two weeks, nerve irritation keeping him sidelined

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Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Steve Nash is still about two weeks away from returning to the Lakers.

Nash, still recovering from a small fracture in his fibula is progressing with his rehab, but is still not ready to join the team, according to David Leon Moore of USA Today:

D’Antoni speculated Sunday that Nash might return at some point on the upcoming road trip but Nash told USA TODAY Sports that won’t happen.

“I think it will be at least another two weeks,” Nash said. “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.”

If this timeline sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Nash has seemingly been about two weeks away for several weeks now, with each update given regarding his playing status seemingly defaulting to this generic timeline.

While Lakers’ fans express their  frustration surrounding Nash’s delayed return, it seems there’s some clarity as to why his recovery is taking as long as it is. Mark Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that it’s not that the fracture hasn’t healed, but that Nash has still been feeling pain due to nerve irritation in his leg:

Steve Nash’s delayed return to the Los Angeles Lakers has more to do with nerve irritation in his lower left leg than the fracture he suffered, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Nash appeared set to return from a non-displaced fractured left fibula about three to four weeks ago. His fibula has healed well, but what caused the setback was a nerve irritation that surfaced in the leg during his rehabilitation, sources said. The nerve caused Nash pain any time he put pressure on it.

Well, that doesn’t sound good at all.

The good news is that Nash has begun to ramp up his rehab. He’s doing more conditioning work and before every game he’s doing ball handling and shooting drills. So, while he’s not yet practicing, the hope is that he’s getting closer to returning and that he’ll be able to play soon after he’s cleared.

His familiarity with Mike D’Antoni’s system should also aid in a quick return once he’s cleared medically. And while there will be more adjustments by he and his teammates to playing together in this system (rather than Mike Brown’s), the fact that Nash knows the ins and outs of the Lakers’ scheme will be helpful.

Of course that won’t fully be known to be true until Nash is back on the court. Which won’t be for another two weeks. At least.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.