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Back problem sidelines Nash for season

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Oft-injured point guard Steve Nash will miss the 2014-15 season because of recurring back issues involving nerver damage, the Los Angeles Lakers announced Thursday night.

The Lakers said the decision was made in consultation with the team’s medical staff and the 40-year-old Nash, who will focus on rest and rehabilitation.

“Being on the court this season has been my top priority and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now,” Nash said. “I work very hard to stay healthy and unfortunately my recent setback makes performing at full capacity difficult.

“I will continue to support my team during this period of rest, and will focus on my long-term health.”

Nash, a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, was entering his 19th season in the league. Since joining the Lakers before the 2012-13 season, Nash has experienced medical issues ranging from nerve damage in his leg to nerve damage in his back.

Last season, he played in just 15 games and averaged 6.8 points and 5.7 assists. In two years with the Lakers, Nash saw action in 65 games and averaged 11.4 points and 6.4 assists.

Nash reinjured his back last week while lifting bags.

“As disappointed as we are for ourselves and our fans, we’re even more disappointed for Steve,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “We know how hard he’s worked the last two years to try to get his body right for the rigors of the NBA, and how badly he wants to play, but unfortunately he simply hasn’t been able to get there up to this point in time.

“Steve has been a consummate professional, and we greatly appreciate his efforts.”

There was no word on whether Nash will retire. The oldest player in the NBA was due to make $9.7 million in the final year of his contract.

Nash, the league’s MVP in 2004-05 and 2005-06, has career averages of 14.3 points and 8.5 assists per game. He shot 90.4 percent from the free throw line, the best in NBA history, and his 10,335 assists are third most all time behind John Stockton and Magic Johnson.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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