Aging Lakers guard to be wrapped in cotton wool to get the most out of him.
Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni made the concession in order to get Steve Nash through the 82 game regular season, he will have to limit his minutes.
The 39-year-old, who is now the oldest player in the league after Juwan Howard took up a coaching role with the Miami Heat, has only played 52 minutes in the Lakers’ four pre-season games to date.
That is a pattern D’Antoni said he will have to follow as he looks to nurse his aging line-up through the rigors of another regular season.
“I think this will happen off and on all year, but he’s going to give you a good season and good stuff. We have to take care of him,” D’Antoni said.
Nash only played nine minutes in his side’s loss to the Sacramento Kings last time out with the Lakers leader saying the point guard was having trouble with his ankle.
The former league MVP is starting to show his age in Los Angeles’ pre-season game as he is only averaging 1.3 points, 4.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 17.3 minutes in the three games since while shooting just 25 percent from the field.
However, that is with a patched-up side with the likes of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol attempting to get fit for the start of the season.
“(The ankle) has gotten better. At the start of camp, it wasn’t very good at all, and through camp it did improve,” Nash said of his latest setback.
“I think (Thursday) was more of an unfortunate day than a real problem. It could linger, but I don’t expect that to be the case. I’m hoping that through this month we can try to put it behind me. It’s kind of a little bit of a dance because I need this time to prepare, but at the same time, you obviously don’t want to pound the ankle to where I’m not able to function.”
Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar will have a big role to play for the Lakers this season as they could find themselves sharing the starting role for extended period of time if Nash is sitting out or is hurt.