Steve Nash is one of the best point guards in NBA history. He isn't a miracle worker. That's something frustrated Los Angeles Lakers fans have to remember when he makes his return to the lineup after an extended absence due to a leg injury.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles reports Nash hopes to return on Saturday night when the Lakers take on the Golden State Warriors. He's been out for nearly two months, but returned to the practice floor on Monday.
Nash has been a durable player throughout his career, which has only added to the disappointment of Lakers supporters, who were expecting a memorable season. Instead, they have been forced to endure a lackluster 12-14 start.
Things are starting to look up, however. Pau Gasol returned to the lineup on Tuesday, scoring 10 points and grabbing nine rebounds to help the Lakers squeak past the Charlotte Bobcats. He played 29 minutes and didn't appear to suffer any setbacks with his knee.
If the Lakers can get Nash back on Saturday, they will finally be at full strength. It would be just the third time this season that has happened.
While it would be a major step in the right direction, the improvement won't be immediate. Remember, these are players that are still trying to jell together after all of Los Angeles' offseason wheeling and dealing.
It's not like a video game, where you can plug any five players on the court together and they develop instant chemistry. Getting on the same page is going to take some time, and certainly no further injuries to throw another wrench into the team's plans.
Are the Lakers still a title contender this season?
The Lakers certainly don't lack star power. Few teams can match Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Nash and Gasol. Eventually, that will start equating to victories and the Lakers will start marching up the Western Conference standings.
It just won't start right when Nash returns. He will need some time to get back in game shape and then a little more time to get in sync with his trio of fellow stars. It will likely take a couple weeks, if not a month, for all of that to happen.
Once it does, though, the Lakers should go on a roll. They have too much talent to keep struggling like they have been up to this point, as they sit outside of the top eight in the West.
Lakers fans don't have much patience left, but that will be the key word once Nash is officially cleared to return. Fixing the team's issues is going to take some time.