EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- In his first public comments in nearly a week, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash said Saturday his health issues aren't as severe as those that kept him sidelined for all but 15 games last season.
But it remains unclear when Nash, who specifically has had trouble with his back, will rejoin the Lakers for a preseason game or even to practice.
He last played in an Oct. 12 exhibition loss to the Golden State Warriors, though he asked out of the game, saying something didn't feel right. Nash, who at 40 is the NBA's oldest active player, hasn't practiced with the team since. The team also stated that Nash tweaked his back carrying bags earlier this week.
"Eventually you've got to play; that's what we're here for. I've definitely had a struggle the last week, but I think I [need to] stay optimistic and see what I can do this week to get better and get back on the court."Steve Nash
"I expected things to happen. It's inevitable with everything I've gone through that there's going to be issues adapting back to the game," Nash said before practice at the team's facility. "On the other hand, I did get through seven or eight hard days well, which I didn't do last year. So there is some improvement, and if I can adapt continually once I heal up here, I'll be back on course."
Coach Byron Scott ruled out Nash for the Lakers' exhibition game Sunday against Utah.
"I really don't know what the future holds for Steve right now," Scott said. "The one thing I do know, like I said, in talking to him, [is] he wants to play. He wants to play badly."
Because of back, knee and hamstring issues, Nash played in just 65 of a possible 164 regular-season games the past two seasons with the Lakers.
"Eventually you've got to play; that's what we're here for," Nash said. "I've definitely had a struggle the last week, but I think I [need to] stay optimistic and see what I can do this week to get better and get back on the court."
Nash decided not to retire this offseason and instead returned to the Lakers, who will pay him about $9.7 million in the final year of a three-year, $28 million deal. Nash also said this summer that he believes this season -- his 19th -- will be his last.
"I think we are all fearing it throughout the year, we didn't know when this might take place, we didn't know if it was going to be November or March," Scott said. "Very optimistic when we started training camp because he did look great, unbelievable shape, just moving up and down the floor with what seems like no hitch whatsoever. Obviously everybody here is disappointed, nobody more disappointed than Steve Nash."