In the midst of only their second three-game win streak of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers could be one step closer to reaching .500 as point guard Steve Nash looks to return to the lineup as early as Saturday.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, the two-time MVP began practicing Monday and could make his first appearance in nearly two months against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.
But Nash could be back as soon as Saturday at Golden State, or he may return in a Christmas Day game at home against the New York Knicks. Nash began practicing again on Monday, and practice sessions on Thursday and Friday will determine when he makes his return.
Amick writes that Nash's fractured left fibula has been fully healed for some time, but "persistent nerve pain" has delayed the passing wizard's return.
In Nash's absence, the Lakers have relied upon a trio of replacements, although none of them have been particularly great.
Chris Duhon has drawn nine starts, but if Tuesday's two-point performance in which he recorded a -21 plus/minus rating means anything, the Lakers need Nash in the backcourt alongside Kobe Bryant as soon as possible.
Speaking of former Phoenix Suns stars, New York Knicks power forward Amar'e Stoudemire could be making a Christmas Day debut, according to Sporting News.
Unlike the Lakers, the Knicks have gotten along just fine without the six-time All-Star, compiling the second-best record in the NBA at 19-6.
Carmelo Anthony has taken over and shined at the power forward spot in Stoudemire's absence, so it'll be interesting to see how Amar'e fits in the Knicks' rotation upon his return.
Stoudemire practiced with New York's D-League affiliate on Tuesday and could join Nash in making his return on Christmas.
Elsewhere around the league, Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley went through his first practice with the team on Monday and reportedly emerged without any setbacks.
According to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, the defensive stopper participated in a 90-minute session, but there's no timetable for when he'll return to game action.
Bradley has been sidelined since the playoffs after undergoing surgeries on both his shoulders, and Boston desperately needs his defensive skills in the lineup.