The Los Angeles Lakers tenuous point guard situation could see some improvement as early as Tuesday.
According to NBC Sports, Steve Blake could return to the court on Tuesday. L.A. is set to host the Indiana Pacers that night,
Blake has missed the last seven games with an abdominal strain. He began the 2012-2013 season as the team’s backup point guard, but took over the starting role when Steve Nash suffered a fracture in his left leg. Nash got injured in the Lakers second game, and has been on the sidelines for the last 12 contests.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni has been optimistic, saying Nash has a chance of returning on Tuesday. The two-time MVP isn’t as hopeful.
"I don't think so," Nash said. "I can't jog yet."
Nash hasn’t been able to perform basketball activities since the injury, and has been limited to lifting weights and working on the elliptical. Missing so many games isn’t very characteristic of the way the veteran’s career as gone. He’s played in at least 85 percent of his team’s games since the 2000-2001 season.
With Nash’s condition steadily improving, there’s a good chance he’ll be ready to play when the Lakers hit the road again. After a short three-game homestand, they’ll visit the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
With Nash and Blake on the sidelines, Darius Morris has been given the task of starting alongside Kobe Bryant in the Lakers backcourt. After playing limited minutes in his rookie year, Morris has been the team’s top option at point guard for half of the young season.
Morris hasn’t come close to giving Los Angeles what they expected to get from Nash, but he’s played just as well, and perhaps even better than Blake. He’s put up more points per game (6.8 to Blake’s 5.1), and shot much better from the field.
Even if Blake is ready to play on Tuesday, he may have to contend with Morris for some minutes. The Lakers have gone 4-3 under Morris, who seems to be improving each game.
L.A. seems to be getting back on track, though they have hit a few bumps along the road back to .500. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol have struggled in D’Antoni’s offensive system. Neither player has reached the 20-point mark in the past three games.
Morris has filled in admirably, but Nash has played for D’Antoni before. His return is key to getting Los Angeles’ big men involved in the offense.