Nash game-time decision; Henry out

March, 22, 2014
Mar 22
1:50
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Steve Nash's return to the Los Angeles Lakers lineup after a nearly six-week-long layoff could end up being short-lived.

[+] EnlargeSteve Nash
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesSteve Nash had 11 assists in 19 minutes against the Wizards but had to leave late in the fourth quarter.
Nash will be a game-time decision when the Lakers host the Orlando Magic on Sunday after tweaking his right hamstring in the Lakers’ 117-107 loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday.

Nash did not practice Saturday, instead using the time to undergo treatment on the hamstring injury that is connected to the nerve root irritation that has hampered the 18-year veteran for much of the season.

“It’s the same problem that he’s had, just his nerves back there,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said Saturday. “We’re trying to be cautious, but we haven’t found a solution. For (Sunday’s) game we’re going to be cautious. We’ll see. If he feels good, he’ll play, but if there’s any doubt, he won’t.”

Nash had five points and 11 assists in 19 minutes against the Wizards. He subbed out of the game with 2:14 remaining in the fourth quarter because of the injury.

The 40-year-old point guard has played in just 11 of the Lakers’ 68 games this season, averaging 7.4 points and 5.3 assists while shooting 36.7 percent from the floor.

Xavier Henry also did not practice Saturday after suffering a strained left wrist against the Wizards. X-rays on Henry’s wrist taken after the game came back negative, but Henry followed up with an MRI exam on his wrist Saturday that showed a torn ligament. Henry will be examined by a hand specialist Monday and an estimate on his return will be announced then, according to a statement released by the team.

“He’s pretty sore right now, so we’ll see,” D’Antoni said before the MRI results were known.

D’Antoni also said he planned to shuffle the starting lineup against the Magic, going with Jordan Hill instead of Robert Sacre and Wes Johnson instead of Kent Bazemore. Johnson missed the Wizards game with an upper respiratory infection but was back at practice Saturday.

Hill was assessed a technical foul and ejected from the Washington game for shoving Marcin Gortat and wrapping up the Wizards center in a bear hug after Nick Young got tangled up with Drew Gooden. Gooden was also ejected after picking up a flagrant-2 foul for wrenching Young’s elbow. Young was given a technical foul for shoving Gooden but remained in the game.

“I felt he was overaggressive,” Young said of Gooden. “It was uncalled for at the time.”

Hill will start against the Magic as long as no further discipline is levied from the league office, i.e. a suspension.

“We have to wait on that to come down, too,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll see what happens there.”

D’Antoni said he liked the combination of Hill and Pau Gasol paired together in the starting lineup and Sacre and Ryan Kelly playing alongside one another off the bench.

Young encouraged by return: After missing 17 of the Lakers’ previous 18 games because of a non-displaced fracture and bone bruise in his left knee, Young returned to the lineup to score 21 points against the Wizards.

“My body is a little sore,” Young said. “First game back, that was expected. I probably got to get in the cold tub or something and relax a little bit.”

Young went 5-for-10 in the second half against Washington after starting 2-for-6 in the first half.

“I felt good in the second half, but the first quarter I was winded,” Young said. “I wasn’t used to being out there. Just a little rusty. But I’m glad coach kept me out there a little bit to find my rhythm.”

Young said that he expects to be able finish out the remaining 14 games of the regular season.

“It most definitely gave me a lot of confidence,” Young said of his return. “Just going out there, taking some hard fouls and showing that I can still continue to play through whatever I’m going through right now.”

Dave McMenamin

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0