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Lakers' Steve Nash refutes retirement rumors

LAKERS FYI

The point guard who has been sidelined nearly two weeks because of persistent back pain doesn't know when he will return but says he is not considering calling it a career before his contract expires.

November 22, 2013|By Ben Bolch

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Steve Nash doesn't know when he'll come back, how he'll feel or whether he can be an effective player again.

There is one certainty for the Lakers point guard: He's not contemplating retirement because of persistent back pain that has sidelined him for nearly two weeks.

"No, not at all," Nash said Friday of rumors he is considering calling it a career long before his contract expires at the end of next season. "I don't know where that came from.

"For me, I realize I have about 18 months left of basketball and I want the most out of this that I can possibly get and I don't know if that's going to be one game or the vast majority of what's left, but I have a long life without basketball, so I don't want to give in too soon. I want to try to make the most of this opportunity to play if I can."

Nash, who was removed in a game against Minnesota on Nov. 10 after irritated nerves in his back led to a loss of mobility in his left hamstring, said he has felt some improvement through physical therapy. He also received an epidural injection.

In a best-case scenario, he would resume practicing after the Lakers return from a three-game trip next week. But playing again isn't the only concern for Nash, who will turn 40 in February.

"I can get back to health; it's just how sustainable is it with all the unpredictable forces and demands on my back?" Nash said. "I want to make sure that I'm not racing to get back but really solve this problem as well as I can so I can sustain it whenever I do come back."

Staying on the court has been a problem since Nash broke his left leg last season in his second game as a Laker, a prelude to nerve damage. More recently, he has been bothered by ankle and neck issues in addition to the hamstring and back problems.

Always quick with a quip, Nash proposed an idea for extending his career.

"I still feel like if the NBA were kind enough to play once a week, I'd probably be pretty good," said Nash, who has played in 56 of a possible 95 regular-season games as a Laker. "But the fact that we have to play 3 1/2 times a week or whatever is problematic at this point, so hopefully I can get over the hump where I can sustain two or three games a week and play at a high level."

Etc.

Lakers reserve center Chris Kaman did not play against Golden State because of back soreness. … Television analyst Stu Lantz missed a second consecutive game while recuperating from laryngitis, with James Worthy taking his spot again on the Time Warner Cable SportsNet broadcast. … Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni, on whether he thinks Warriors guard Klay Thompson tries to raise his level of play in front of his father Mychal, the Lakers' radio analyst: "Maybe if he was a seventh-grader."

ben.bolch@latimes.com

Twitter: @latbbolch

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