After the game, Nash was blunt about what the injury means.
“Since I had a pretty good setback today, I probably won’t play again [this season],” Nash said after the game. “But if I get a good recovery over the next week, I’d love to play again. But again, a big goal for me was to not go into the summer injured, and the fact that I had a setback today is kind of frustrating. But hopefully it’s something that I can work through quickly here, and if I work through quick enough, I’d love to play again. But it’s probably doubtful.”
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni wasn’t quite as straight forward, but he sure raised the stakes. D’Antoni, via McMenamin:
“It’s too bad everything comes to an end, and he’s had a great career,” D’Antoni said after the game, adding several times he felt “lucky” to have coached the eight-time All-Star in both Phoenix and L.A.
D’Antoni would not definitively draw the curtain on Nash’s career, however.
“I don’t think anybody, they can’t tell that,” D’Antoni said. “He’ll try, I’m sure. A lot of it’s mentally, whether he can do it mentally, because it’s going to take a lot, a lot of work and some luck and then the franchise and the management and Steve will sit down and they’ll make that determination.”
Even though D’Antoni walks it back, “It’s too bad everything comes to an end, and he’s had a great career” is a strange quote.
Nash has made no secret about his desire to return next season. I can’t see this changing that.
If Nash comes back, he’s under contract. The Lakers would have to pay him, whether or not he’s physically capable of playing.
If Nash retires, it’s his prerogative to let the Lakers off the hook and sacrifice his money. But why would he do that?
D’Antoni might be seeing just Nash’s age (40) hand how much pain the point guard is in. Based on those factors, Nash retiring is a logical conclusion.
The financial details of the situation, though, point in a much different direction.