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Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash injured his back while carrying bags on Wednesday.
The injury will force the 40-year-old Nash to miss his third consecutive practice. It also raises more suspicions about Nash’s long-term, on-court health, per ESPN Los Angeles’ Baxter Holmes:
“The Los Angeles Lakers said point guard Steve Nash injured his back carrying bags Wednesday, forcing him to miss practice for the third straight day and raising more questions about the 40-year-old’s availability moving forward.
“Lakers coach Byron Scott said the team was still gathering information about the nature of the injury, but Nash, a two-time league MVP, isn’t likely to play in an exhibition game Thursday against the Utah Jazz.
“The injury marked yet another setback for Nash, the NBA’s oldest active player, decided not to retire this offseason and instead returned to the Lakers, who will pay him about $9.7 million in the final year of a three-year, $28 million deal. Nash also said this summer that he believes this season — his 19th — will be his last.
“‘It’s a concern because, from my standpoint, I’ve got to kind of figure out if he’s going to be able to play every day or not, if he’s going to be able to play every other game, or which games can he play,’ Scott said. ‘Obviously, in the next couple of weeks, we’ve got some time to come up with a conclusion to this whole situation.’
“On Tuesday, Scott intimidated that he could be leaning toward starting Jeremy Lin at point guard. When asked if he has a long-term plan for what the Lakers will do if Nash continues to be sidelined, Scott said, ‘I haven’t got there yet. And in a couple weeks, if the situation is the same, that’s probably the type of way that I have to go.’
“Lakers players missed a league-high 319 combined games because of injuries last season.”
Baxter wrote more about the prospect of Lin being the Lakers’ long-term starter at the 1-spot in his Oct. 14 ESPN blog:
“Entering what is probably his final NBA season, two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash faces the very real prospect of spending it in a new role: as a backup.
“Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott said Jeremy Lin could become the team’s starting point guard because of Nash’s nagging health issues.
“‘That is something I’m definitely thinking about it,’ Scott said after the team’s practice Tuesday. ‘Is it in our best interest to start Jeremy or Ronnie (Price) or do we wait day by day, game by game? We’ll play these last five preseason games out. We’ll figure it out from there.’
“Said Lin: ‘Whatever position (Scott) calls me to to, I’ll do my best. It doesn’t change that much to me. No question I want to be a starter. But it’s one of those things that game by game it changes so much.
“Nash played in the Lakers’ preseason opener, sat out the second exhibition game and played briefly in the third before asking to come out, saying he didn’t feel right.
“Nash hasn’t practiced for two consecutive days and hasn’t spoken to reporters since Sunday’s game. The 18-year NBA veteran played only 15 games last season, averaging 6.8 points and 5.7 assists.
“‘I have no doubt in my mind if I went to Steve tomorrow and said, ‘I’m going to start Jeremy, and the games you’re available we’re going to bring you off the bench,’ Scott said. ‘He’s such a professional that I don’t think it will be a problem whatsoever. He just wants to help the team win as much as he can. That’s not a concern of mine. But we haven’t talked about it.'”
Nash has averaged 14.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists in 1,217 regular-season games for the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, per ESPN stats.