Steve Nash has had one of the most illustrious NBA careers of the last 20 years, and now, it is likely over. The two-time MVP and future Hall of Famer will miss the entire 2014-15 season as he continues to battle nerve issues in his back, as first reported by Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding:
Nash is expected to be ruled out for the 2014-15 NBA season because of recurring nerve damage in his back, according to league sources.
Nash, 40, had said he expects this 19th NBA season to be his final one. But he has not announced his retirement. Nash has not stated an intention of playing for a team away from Los Angeles and his children, saying in March that he would be done if the Lakers used their stretch provision to cut him for salary-cap savings: “That would be it. I’ll either be back here or I’ll be done.”
Now, Nash might try to dream anew of more rest for a full year and one more shot. But Nash’s body has simply told him that it isn’t up to playing NBA basketball, as much as his words have been telling people that he still loves playing and believes he can contribute if allowed.
The Lakers confirmed the news Thursday evening in a press release:
Due to a recurring back injury, Lakers point guard Steve Nash will be out for the season, it was announced today. After consultations with Lakers medical staff, both Nash and the organization believe it is best to focus on rest and rehabilitation at this time.
“Being on the court this season has been my top priority and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now,” said Nash. “I work very hard to stay healthy and unfortunately my recent setback makes performing at full capacity difficult. I will continue to support my team during this period of rest, and will focus on my long-term health.”
“As disappointed as we are for ourselves and our fans, we’re even more disappointed for Steve,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. “We know how hard he’s worked the last two years to try to get his body right for the rigors of the NBA, and how badly he wants to play, but unfortunately he simply hasn’t been able to get there up to this point in time. Steve has been a consummate professional, and we greatly appreciate his efforts.”
Nash has been plagued by injuries since signing with the Lakers in the summer of 2012. A broken left leg early in his first season with the Lakers led to nerve damage in his leg, which has led to continued nerve damage in his back. Last week, he reinjured his back while he was lifting bags.
This news isn’t much of a surprise for the 40-year-old Nash, who is the oldest player in the NBA. But that doesn’t make it any less of a bummer. He’s already hinted at retirement following the final year of his contract, in which he is owed $9.7 million. Now, there’s virtually no question this is the end.
When Nash joined the Lakers in 2012, he was expected to be part of a superteam that also included Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. But injuries and chemistry issues prevented that team from contending for a title, and Nash played in just 65 total games during his first two seasons in Los Angeles. It’s a sad ending to the career of one of the greatest point guards of all time, the conductor of the mid-2000s “Seven Seconds of Less” teams in Phoenix that are among the greatest teams never to win a championship.
He signed with the Lakers to attempt to win the title that had eluded him his entire career. But due to injuries, Nash’s tenure in the purple and gold is going to go down in history as an afterthought most fans would like to forget, similar to Hakeem Olajuwon’s time with the Raptors or Karl Malone’s single season with the Lakers.
It’s a shame that one of the defining players of his generation is going out this way.