Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash will be examined by a back specialist on Monday after the 39-year-old left Sunday night's 113-90 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves early due to nerve pain in his back and hamstring, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles.
Nash was pulled from Sunday's loss with 1:42 remaining in the second quarter when Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni realized his point guard was in too much pain. Nash didn't play at all in the second half and finished the game with two points and three assists in 13 minutes.
Nash said last week that he was dealing with nerve issues related to the broken leg he suffered last season. After the game Sunday, the point guard detailed his injuries:
"I have, obviously, back issues. It's nerves coming from my back. You could call it the back, you could call it the nerves. I'm getting the pain in the hamstring. ... It's basically the same thing from the end of last year."
In addition to the broken leg, Nash missed the Lakers' final two playoff games against the San Antonio Spurs last year due to a hamstring injury. The two-time MVP received three epidurals over the course of a week in an attempt to get back on the floor, but to no avail.
Those problems have never really gone away, and now back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins will determine the best course of action for Nash. The veteran would like to try and play through it, but knows he needs to be smart about it:
"I'm trying to play through it but at the same time be smart and try to overcome what I can and see," said Nash, who added that the same issues had been bothering him for the last several weeks. "But it's taken a bit of a turn for the worse."
Nash has looked nothing like himself when he has played, averaging 6.7 points and 4.8 assists while shooting just 26.1 percent from the field. So him taking the court isn't necessarily a good thing for Los Angeles.
Nash is still owed $9.7 million in 2014-15, and the Lakers will likely be forced to use the "stretch" provision in order to diminish his cap hit. In that scenario, the Lakers would stretch that $9.7 million payment over three years so the cap hit would be just over $3.2 million per season.