Nerve Issues the Key for Nash

by Mike Trudell
Lakers Reporter

When Steve Nash came to the Lakers in the summer of 2012, promises of championship contention seemed a foregone conclusion.

But in just his second game in purple and gold, the two-time MVP fractured his leg, which limited him to 50 games in 2012-13, and just 15 last season as the nerve issues from the initial fracture continued to plague the 40-year-old.

Can the Lakers really expect anything from Nash in what will likely be the final season of his terrific career?

Well … the NBA's oldest player certainly hasn't gotten any younger. But there is one positive development that's occurred since the end of last season: his nerve pain has subsided.

"All my conversations with (Nash) are that he has absolutely no neural issue at this point," said Lakers head athletic trainer Gary Vitti. "He's playing full-tilt, unrestricted soccer. He's doing all the corrective injury and performance exercises he's supposed to be doing, and right now he's 100 percent healthy."

As Vitti went on to explain, nerve issues typically either "get better really quickly, or they take a long, long period of time." Since Nash's nerve issues developed out of the leg fracture on Oct. 31, 2012, and it's nearly two years later, we can certainly categorize them as the "long" type.

Basically, things look much better for Nash today than they did last summer.

The nerve issues were prevalent in August of 2013, but they're gone now. Still, there's a big difference between his feeling good today and his body being able to handle the NBA training camp and subsequent regular season grind.

"Does (no nerve pain) translate into putting on an NBA uniform and getting out there with these guys in a point guard dominated league on hardwood, not a grass soccer field," asked Vitti. "I don't think anybody knows, and nobody wants to know more than Steve. He really wants to play, and he's committed himself to do whatever it is to play. If he can't, we'll have to address that when the time comes."

Vitti wants Nash to be cognizant not to jeopardize his long-term health by pushing too hard in his final season, but has yet to dismiss the point guard's chances of playing in 2014-15.

"As of right now, he's a green light," Vitti concluded. "We're moving forward to get ready for the 2014-15 NBA season. If that changes, it'll be due to what is coming, not where we are at this particular moment."

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