D'Antoni preps for life without Nash

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Just like when Mike D'Antoni took the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching job last November, the coach won't have his longtime point guard Steve Nash to lean on for at least the next two weeks as Nash tries to work through nerve root irritation in his back and hamstring.

"It’s disappointing, I’m sure for him above all," D'Antoni said after shootaround Tuesday prior to his team's game against the New Orleans Pelicans. "It’s just something we’ll have to deal with and hopefully in two weeks he’ll be able to come back and feel a lot better. Obviously the last couple games he has not felt well, so we’ll just have to re-evaluate it after two weeks."

Nash will receive an epidural shot Tuesday in hopes alleviating the discomfort he is experiencing and will not travel with the team for their game in Denver on Wednesday.

D'Antoni was unsure of the plan from there.

"I think he’s going to rest for a couple days, for sure," D'Antoni siad. "But I don’t know how you gear back up."

Despite Nash being the oldest active player in the NBA at 39-years old and the chronic back issues he has been dealing with that have only spiked since he suffered a freak fractured left leg last season that continues to sabotage his nerves, D'Antoni still expressed confidence in the former two-time league MVP.

"The thing that I know for sure, he’ll work as hard as he can," D'Antoni said. "Now, you never know about injuries, everybody ages and you never know about a lot of things. So, you don’t know. But I do know he’ll work as hard as he can to get ready and so, we’re hoping."

D'Antoni offered the briefest of updates on the Lakers' other ailing superstar guard, Kobe Bryant, on Tuesday, saying that Bryant "looked better" while jogging recently and was "making progress" but refrained from offering any updated timetable as to when he could return.

While the Nash news was certainly a major blow, D'Antoni said he had been bracing for a rocky start to the Lakers' season for awhile.

"We knew the first [part of the season] was going to be tough, getting Steve back after a long layoff," D'Antoni said. "Trying to get Kobe back. Trying to get Pau [Gasol] over his operation this summer. So, we knew at first it could be some ups and downs. Our focus is just to stay focused, get the energy right, win as many as we can, get our guys healthy and then see what we can do."