Steve Nash to return, start for Lakers Tuesday night against Minnesota

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So much for that whole “easing him back in” thing…

Steve Nash will not only be back and play for the Lakers on Tuesday night, he will start, coach Mike D’Antoni told the media, as reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Nash will play the first 5-8 minutes of the game then sit the rest of the first half, then repeat that pattern for the second half.

Steve Blake also is back for the Lakers and will start. The starting five in Minnesota are Nash, Blake, Jodie Meeks, Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre.

“I’d Like Steve to warms up instead of sitting down and coming up,” D’Antoni said. “He’s always been a starter. If he can’t go, he can’t go and we’ll make adjustments.”

“That’s a big step that I got through some practices,” Nash said. “It is tenuous. I’m going to have to play some games to be a player and get some games under my belt to build the strength and confidence to protect the area. It’s tenuous. I’m not going to lie. If I can get through that window there where I put some games behind me, there’s a chance I can finish the season.”

“I love the game. I haven’t had a good run of it in LA and I want to be able to contribute,” Nash said. “It’s been one thing after another. Hopefully I can fight through this and get another opportunity to play well.”

Nash will sit out the back-to-back Wednesday when the Lakers head to Cleveland, for that game expect to see Jordan Farmar’s return. Farmar will suit up in Minnesota but is not expected to play.

D’Antoni’s rotation is now flush with guards, having those three back to join Kendall Marshall, who has played solid offense (if not much defense) for the Lakers. Even for D’Antoni and his desire to go small it’s going to be more bodies than minutes available, and we are going to see some interesting rotations.

The Lakers are without Pau Gasol (groin injury) for this week, while Kobe Bryant and his fractured knee remain out until at least the All-Star break.