Lakers' Steve Nash in a world of hurt

SAN ANTONIO – Steve Nash had a painful Monday, the day after he played his first game in almost a month.

Nevertheless, he took part completely in the Los Angeles Lakers' light practice at Texas Military Institute. He said afterward he is dealing with a "fair amount" of discomfort and isn't "moving like normal" as he recovers from hip and hamstring injuries.

Grinning and bearing it, Nash, expects to play in Game 2 of the Lakers' opening round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs.

"It is what it is," Nash said. "I'm going to have to fight through some soreness, some pain. I'm not going to move as well as I would like, but I have to make the most of it."

The Lakers don't play again until Wednesday, giving Nash valuable time to recover. Coincidentally, the team took a field trip to watch the movie "Pain & Gain" on Monday.

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Nash missed the last eight games of the Lakers' regular season. The 39-year-old also missed 24 games with a broken left leg from Nov. 2-Dec. 18, and believes effects of it contributed to his current hamstring and hip problems.

He finished the regular season averaging 12.7 points and 6.7 assists. The 50 regular-season games Nash played this season was the least he's suited up for in his career in an 82-game season (he played 40 in the lockout shortened 1998-99 season). The 17-year NBA veteran had missed only 17 games the previous five seasons combined.

"It's been a tough year," Nash said. "I haven't missed many games in my career. What's frustrating is I obviously don't want to break my leg at the start of the year. It really took me until a couple months ago until I figured out how I could fit into this team and to get healthy. Seven weeks off, two practices and then playing. You never quite get that feeling back. It's frustrating that I finally started to feel a place within the mix and healthy.

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Nash needed two epidural shots to be ready for Game 1 on Sunday. He played 29 minutes and scored 16 points and had three assists in the Lakers' 91-79 loss. He can't take any more shots for another three weeks. With Kobe Bryant out with an Achilles tendon injury, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni says his team can't succeed without Nash.

"[Nash] will get better as his legs get better," D'Antoni said. "We are not going to do it without him. He will battle through some injuries he had, but he will be ready to go Wednesday."

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