LOS ANGELES — Steve Nash hoped for one more chance to show off his playmaking skills after fighting injuries and time for two miserable years with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Instead, Nash couldn’t even make it to opening night in the 19th season of his remarkable career.
Nash will miss the entire season because of a back injury, the Lakers announced Thursday, putting the two-time NBA MVP point guard’s career in doubt.
The Lakers and the 40-year-old Nash announced their joint decision less than a week before the start of the regular season. He played in only 15 games last season with nerve root irritation, but hoped for a comeback season after several months of rehabilitation.
The Canadian star played in just three preseason games, feeling more back pain in the second outing. He then strained his back while carrying travel bags several days ago.
“Being on the court this season has been my top priority, and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now,” Nash said. “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.”
Nash will “focus on rest and rehabilitation,” according to the team’s news release. He is in the final season of his three-year contract with the Lakers, but the club’s announcement made no mention of possible retirement.
“As disappointed as we are for ourselves and our fans, we’re even more disappointed for Steve,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “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, the NBA’s oldest active player, is due more than $9 million this season. His salary counts toward the Lakers’ cap.
The Lakers had hoped Nash would be their starting point guard this season, but the club also acquired Jeremy Lin and signed veteran free-agent Ronnie Price.
Photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
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