Assists leader's hamstring is healed

Updated: March 2, 2005, 8:45 PM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Steve Nash will be back in the Phoenix Suns' lineup against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night after missing three games with a sore hamstring.

Steve Nash
Point Guard
Phoenix Suns
Profile
2004-2005 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
51 16.4 3.2 11.5 .511 .899

The NBA assists leader went through almost the entire workout Wednesday.

"I think he's fine," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He's a little rusty here and there, but I think he'll be ready to go tomorrow."

Nash said the hamstring problem stems from the thigh bruise that knocked him out of three games last month. Because of the lingering nature of hamstring injuries, Nash said he is concerned that the problem could resurface.

"Yeah, of course," he said after reading "Green Eggs and Ham" to a group of children at America West Arena as part of national Read Across America Day. "I certainly hope it's better. I've done pretty much everything I could possibly do" to treat the injury.

The scheduled allowed Nash to rest his injured hamstring for two weeks, except for his brief appearance in the All-Star Game, while missing only three games.

D'Antoni said he hopes to lessen Nash's time on the court in the final weeks of the season, but he expects his star playmaker to go 30 to 35 minutes on Thursday.

"It will be tough on Thursday, but you know Leandro [Barbosa] is playing well, and maybe we can find some time to give him the rest," D'Antoni said.

Unlike the first time Nash was hurt and the Suns went 0-3, they were 2-1 in his absence this time. One of the games Nash missed because of the thigh bruise was at Detroit, where the Pistons beat the Suns 94-80.

The NBA champion Pistons, on an eight-game winning streak, provide a big challenge to Phoenix's running style.

"Them and San Antonio are teams that combine a good offense with a good defense," D'Antoni said. "I happen to think we have a great offense. We've got to improve our defense and see what happens."

With Nash at the controls, the Suns will try to keep moving and not let the Pistons dictate the tempo.

"It's like playing against a heavyweight fighter," D'Antoni said. "We're not going to lay on the ropes and let them beat us. That's what they did to us in Detroit. We've got to be quick. We've got to make a lot of outside shots. They kind of rule the paint, and we've got to rule the perimeter."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press