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Steve Nash out at least 2 weeks

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Kobe Bryant had better make room on the Los Angeles Lakers' bench. Another Hall of Fame-bound guard is about to join him there.

Steve Nash will be sidelined for a minimum of two weeks after being diagnosed with nerve root irritation in his back and hamstring following a visit to back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins, the Lakers announced Monday.

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni pulled Nash from Sunday's 113-90 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves with 1:42 remaining in the second quarter, and the point guard did not return, finishing with two points and three assists in 13 minutes.

"It's just slowly getting worse and worse," Nash said Monday when asked about the nerve discomfort.

Nash is expected to receive an epidural block Tuesday, according to the team. A similar treatment offered Nash little relief last season when he missed the Lakers' final two playoff games in the first round against the San Antonio Spurs, unable to play despite receiving three epidural injections in his right hamstring in the span of a week to try to get back on the court.

Nash will be re-evaluated in approximately 10 days, and the team will provide an update on his status at that time.

Nash said he is experiencing "nearly constant" pain stemming from complications from the broken left leg he suffered in the Lakers' second game of last season that caused him to miss 32 games. He said he did not believe simply sitting out would solve his problems.

"A little bit of rest might help, but you have to be more proactive with it, I think," Nash said Monday. "I need to rehab, continue to work through it."

Nash, 39, is averaging 6.7 points and 4.8 assists per game this season while shooting 26.1 percent from the field. He played in just six of the Lakers' first eight games, sitting out both times during the second night of a back-to-back in a plan devised by D'Antoni in hopes of preserving the 18-year veteran for the long haul.

The former two-time league MVP admitted his play has hurt the Lakers so far this season during the team's 3-5 start.

"That's one of the reasons I've come out a few times this year," Nash said. "It's that I'm not able to get it done or produce and it's not worth being out there."

D'Antoni tried to offer words of support prior to Nash's diagnosis.

"You're talking about one of the best professional, Hall of Famer, twice-MVP guys," D'Antoni said. "So, obviously he wants it more than anybody wants it and he's a little frustrated, I'm sure. We're just trying to keep his spirits up and get him healthy."

The Lakers likely will start Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks in the backcourt against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday with Nash unavailable.

"I'll be playing more point guard, basically," Blake said. "It doesn't change the way I prepare for the games. I just go out there, do my job and help out any way that I can."

Nash said he has been dealing with the same issues since last season, but his health took a "turn for the worse" against Minnesota.

"I spent four months rehabbing it this summer and got through it, and then it's just slowly crept back in," Nash said.

The season had already been a difficult one for Nash prior to the Wolves game, however.

"Just staying positive and staying hungry," Nash said of his mentality. "It's hard every day to keep fighting uphill, but I also weigh it against the fact that I still really love playing and want to be a part of this group. That makes it worthwhile, but there are days where it's a big challenge."

During the preseason, D'Antoni warned that injuries could play a factor for Nash all season.

"I think this will happen off and on all year, but he's going to give you a good season and good stuff," D'Antoni said. "We have to take care of him."

Pau Gasol, one of the Lakers' co-captains along with Bryant and Nash, said the team will forge on without its point guard.

"There's not much else we can do," Gasol said. "Unfortunately this league is too rough and too demanding to feel sorry when a guy goes down. You fight through it, you try to survive and make the best out of what you got. That's what we're going to try to do."