D'Antoni talks comeback dates for Nash, Bryant

LOS ANGELES -- Sunday marked the 10th straight game that Steve Nash missed because of nerve root irritation in his back and hamstrings, but Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said he expected to have him back when the team returns to practice Tuesday after an off day.

Nash spent last week in Vancouver, British Columbia, working out with his longtime personal trainer, Rick Celebrini, while the Lakers were on a three-game trip through Washington, Brooklyn and Detroit.

"I think he made some improvements, but we'll see," D'Antoni said of Nash.

Nash, 39, is averaging 6.7 points and 4.8 assists this season while shooting 26.1 percent from the field. L.A. went 6-3 in its first nine games since Nash went out, thanks in large part to Steve Blake (9.8 points and 7.6 assists per game) and Jordan Farmar (9.7 and 4.6).

"They're playing great and I thought they would, as long as they have enough time and space," D'Antoni said before Sunday's game. "They were playing well with Steve too, so it's not crazy that they're doing well."

Before Farmar left Sunday's game because of a moderate left hamstring strain, ending his night early, D'Antoni was asked about the possibility of Nash coming off the bench when he is ready to return to game action.

"We'll see," D'Antoni said. "We haven't got there yet."

Similarly, D'Antoni said he had yet to discuss the Lakers' next game on the road Friday against the Sacramento Kings with Kobe Bryant as to whether that will be the date Bryant makes his long-awaited return to the court followed Achilles surgery in April.

Like Nash, D'Antoni expects Bryant to be a part of the team's practices Tuesday through Thursday leading up to the Kings game.

"Three days of practice, then we'll evaluate it," D'Antoni said. "It might happen, it might not. The only way we'll be able to evaluate it is let these three days go by and check it out. I have no idea how he'll respond to practice -- if he has to back off, if he can turn it up, if he's ready. After those three days we'll decide and it will either be or not be. But, I don't have the slightest clue whether it's Friday or not. No clue whatsoever."