MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said that 18-year veteran Steve Nash will start for the team on Tuesday for their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis.
This will be the first time that the point guard, who turns 40 on Friday, will have played in nearly three months because of nerve root irritation in his hamstrings and back.
D'Antoni plans to play him for the first five to eight minutes of each half.
"Steve Nash needs to warm up and then play," D'Antoni said. "If we're going to get the most out of him, there's no use in him sitting over there for five to 10 minutes and then playing. We feel like we want to see [how Nash can perform]. Let's get into it. We might as well get into it now."
Mike D'Antoni's plan is for Nash to play first 5-8 min and and then sit the rest of the half. Will do the same for the 2nd half— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 4, 2014
In limited action during six games earlier this season, Nash averaged 4.8 assists and 6.7 points on 26.1 percent shooting.
"It is tenuous," said the two-time league MVP.
"I also have to get some games under my belt, hopefully, to build up the strength and confidence to protect that area. It's tenuous; I'm not going to lie. If I can get through that window there where I've put some games behind me and am no worse for the wear, then I got a chance, I think, to finish the season.”
Steve Blake will also return for the Lakers and start the game. "There's nothing better than being out there, playing in the game, competing and trying to get a win with your teammates," Blake said. "So I'm excited for it."
Starting lineup: Nash, Blake, Meeks, Kelly, Sacre— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 4, 2014
Kobe Bryant remains out for the Lakers but he may return at some point this month.