Steve Nash‘s tenure with the Lakers hasn’t gone nearly as he expected it to, but recently he batted down a rumor that the nerve root irritation in his back was prompting him to consider retirement. Now Nash says he isn’t ruling out the possibility that his career is over, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News observes.
“I might not be able to play anymore,” Nash said. “I might have to yo-yo it. I might be able to play the rest of the way. Honestly right now, I’m trying to see if I can play the rest of the way.”
Nash has been taking his rehab at a slow pace in an effort not to have to “yo-yo” back and forth between the active and inactive lists. A setback in his recovery could mean trouble, but he knows that if he is going to play again, he’ll have to take a risk and “dance with the devil” sooner or later.
The two-time MVP called his recent troubles “a horrible 18 months for me,” as Medina notes, though his problems started just a little more than 13 months ago, when he fractured his leg in a game against the Blazers. Nash has said that he hasn’t felt the same since that injury, and he also suffered from back and hamstring problems last season, when he missed a combined 34 regular season and playoff games.
If Nash decides to quit, and NBA doctors were to rule him medically unable to play, the Lakers could be allowed to wipe the more than $19MM remaining on his contract from their books. Still, that’s a longshot even if Nash doesn’t return. The more likely scenario if Nash retires would involve the Lakers waiving him and using the Stretch Provision to defray his cost. Nash has repeatedly expressed a desire to play out his contract, which runs through next season, and it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to give up on that yet, even if he realizes he might have to at some point.