At his preseason media availability Wednesday, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said that while point guard Steve Nash is finally 100 percent and expected to be ready to go when training camp starts Friday, he is likely to have minute restrictions this season to try and save his body.
Kupchak said Nash has been at 100 percent for the last 6 weeks or so, but they will limit him in camp to avoid overworking him— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) September 25, 2013
Kupchak on Steve Nash: "We're not expecting 35 minutes a game for Steve" ... He mentioned Farmar/Blake to create PG by committee— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) September 25, 2013
Nash struggled through last season in his first year without the Suns' miracle-worker training staff. He played just 50 games as he suffered through first a left leg fracture in the beginning of the season and pain in his hip and back that required an epidural to deal with the pain towards the end of the year and in the playoffs.
It's the first real sign that Nash simply cannot carry the same load he's used to or that the Lakers would prefer. Steve Blake was one of the few players to really excel in Mike D'Antoni's system, and Jordan Farmar is a natural fit,but neither has Nash's natural talent in passing or shooting ability. Granted, 35 minutes a night is a lot for anyone, but how far will the limitation go? 30 minutes? 28? 25? That's the big question about Nash headed into 2013-2014 with training camp starting Friday.
Nash joins a long list of players with existing injury issues, in Nash's case a back condition, who thrived in Phoenix and immediately suffered issues when they went to other teams. The leg fracture certainly seems like a freak accident last year, but it bears watching to see if Nash can get his body to a point where he can stay on the floor. The Lakers are going to badly need him next season as Kobe Bryant continues to work towards a return from Achilles' tendon surgery, after the departure of Dwight Howard in free agency, and with a roster that isn't exactly loaded for bear.
Nash is back, he's ready to go, but the Lakers have come to understand they have to be careful with how to wear out the 39-year-old pure point.