Go ahead and keep those fingers hovering over the panic button in Lakers land.
The Purple and Gold's record is sinking and Steve Nash's return from his fractured leg keeps getting pushed further back.
Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports hit us with this troubling bit of news on the Nash injury front.
Nash appeared set to return from a non-displaced fractured left fibula about three to four weeks ago. His fibula has healed well, but what caused the setback was a nerve irritation that surfaced in the leg during his rehabilitation, sources said. The nerve caused Nash pain any time he put pressure on it.
The irritation is steadily improving for Nash and he is expected to play before the end of the month, sources said.
So, at least the report ends with some semi-good news, but who's to say Nash won't experience a further delay? After all, that is the kind of thing that happens to 38 year olds.
Still, even if his healing goes according to plan, this puts the Lakers in a hole.
It's far too early in the season to get too deep into playoff forecasting, but obviously, the Lakers have their work cut out for them if they want to have the home-court edge in any series. And if things don't start improving soon, they will have a hard time simply making the playoffs.
L.A. has lost four of its last five and seven of its last ten. This has them at 9-12 on the year, and tied for 11th in the Western Conference.
The Lakers have nine games remaining this month. So if they continue at this pace, which is a strong possibility without Nash, they will wind up being 11-19. That means they'd have to go 30-22 the remainder of the way just to finish at .500.
Nash's return from injury will undoubtedly help this offense gel, but that is going to take some time; and every passing day he misses while being injured, that amount of time shrinks.
Also, in Nash's absence, a huge burden is put on Kobe Bryant. The Mamba is turning in just over 37 minutes a night, and he is doing a lot of heavy lifting in those minutes. This is going to take its toll on Bryant, and the Lakers are going to need him—and everyone else—at full strength come playoff time if they want this season to be anything but a disaster.