LOS ANGELES (Sporting Alert) — Steve Nash and Pau Gasol handed the Los Angeles Lakers a fitness boost after the pair returned to regular team practice on Monday.
Nash, who has been out since October, had increased his running and shooting sessions last week, but was a surprise face in the Lakers’ full session, despite the limited efforts by the team on Monday.
The veteran point guard is hoping to play next week.
“Hopefully I can play by Christmas,” Nash said on the official website of the Los Angeles Lakers, at www.lakers.com.
“We’ll see how it responds this week. Today we didn’t do any 5-on-5 or contact.”
Nash, who continues to gradually increase his sessions without any contact plays, admits that there are definite signs that his leg is getting much better.
“(My leg has) responded pretty well,” he revealed. “I’ve been able to do some jogging, some running, some 1-on-1.
“Today was the first day actually getting up and down the floor a little bit even though we didn’t (scrimmage). It’s definitely sore, and definitely going to be a process not just to get back to complete health but also get in shape.”
With this in mind, the lakers have ruled out him playing in the team’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday.
However, Nash could very well feature on Christmas Day against the high riding New York Knicks.
Meanwhile, Gasol, who missed eight straight games with tendinitis in both knees, is set to return against the Charlotte Tuesday night.
And he too says he’s feeling much better.
“I’m feeling well, I’m happy with the practice that I did today and how I felt,” he said on Lakers.com.
“We’ll see how I feel tomorrow and decide then.”
He added: “Strengthening everything around (the knees) to make sure they don’t take as much load as they have, and protect them, too.
“We have therapy, strengthening, conditioning and rest. I can move around much, much better. I can push off my legs and my knees much better, much stronger without pain, so that’s quite an improvement.”