As has been the case for much of this year, the Los Angeles Lakers lineup may be missing one of its most important pieces during a critical part of the season.
Nash, who has been plagued by hamstring and hip injuries lately, checked out of the game less than two minutes in and did not return.
Now, Nash's timetable is unknown, but there's still a possibility that he'll be ready to go in time for the Lakers' all-important game against Dallas on Tuesday, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears:
Lakers say guard Steve Nash (hip, back) is day to day.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) March 31, 2013
In Nash's absence, Blake stepped up and knocked down 5-of-9 from behind the arc, but the Lakers could be in trouble down the stretch if Nash is unable to return soon.
Following Saturday night's win over Sacramento, the Lakers are currently tied for the eighth and final postseason berth in the Western Conference, but Utah holds the tiebreaker, so the Lakers, as of now, are on the outside looking in.
This week, the team's postseason fate could be determined early if the Lakers can't take at least three of their next four, which will be played within a seven-day span starting on Tuesday.
Will the Lakers make the postseason?
And Nash, who had been improving as of late, is obviously a key player in the Lakers' postseason hopes, so if he's out for any considerable length of time, L.A.'s playoff hopes will become that much more remote.
For now, Blake and Bryant will have to pick up the slack until Nash returns, but whether they can do that for long enough to get the Lakers back into the playoff picture before it's too late remains to be seen.
The Lakers need Nash back on the court, but unless the severity of his hamstring injury is revealed, we probably won't have a realistic idea of when exactly he'll be ready to go at full strength.