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Aching back sidelines Nash for entire season

Updated: 2014-10-25 08:38
By Associated Press in Los Angeles (China Daily)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash will miss the NBA season because of a back injury, putting the two-time MVP's career in doubt.

The Lakers and Nash announced their joint decision on Thursday, less than a week before the start of what would have been the 40-year-old Nash's 19th NBA season.

He played in only 15 games last season with nerve root irritation, but was hoping for a comeback following several months of rehabilitation.

Instead, the Canadian point guard played in just three preseason games before feeling more back pain. He then strained his back while carrying bags two weeks ago.

"Being on the court this season has been my top priority, and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now," Nash said.

"I work very hard to stay healthy, and unfortunately my recent setback makes performing at full capacity difficult. I will continue to support my team during this period of rest."

Nash will "focus on rest and rehabilitation," according to the team's news release.

He is in the final season of his three-year contract with the Lakers, but the club's announcement made no mention of possible retirement.

Nash has played in only 65 games since the Lakers traded four draft picks for him in 2012 in a spectacularly failed attempt to assemble a title contender built around Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Nash.

Nash, the NBA's oldest active player, is due more than $9 million this season.

"As disappointed as we are for ourselves and our fans, we're even more disappointed for Steve," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said.

"We know how hard he's worked the last two years to try to get his body right for the rigors of the NBA, and how badly he wants to play, but unfortunately he simply hasn't been able to get there up to this point in time. Steve has been a consummate professional, and we greatly appreciate his efforts."

Nash is the greatest player in Canadian history and one of the most complete offensive guards of his generation.

He is third on the NBA's career assists list, trailing only John Stockton and Jason Kidd. Nash also is the most accurate free-throw shooter in NBA history, barely edging Mark Price's career mark at 90.4 percent.

During training camp, Nash said he realized the upcoming season likely would be his last. Yet he refused to call it a farewell tour, holding out hope of playing beyond this season if his back held up under the pounding of a full schedule.

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