Steve Nash: How Kobe Bryant Is Affected by His Injury

David O'Connor@@DavidSOConnorContributor IINovember 1, 2012

ONTARIO, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers throws a pass against the Portland Trail Blazers at Citizens Business Bank Arena on October 10, 2012 in Ontario, California.  Portland won 93-75.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

When the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns this past summer, there were mixed reactions in the basketball world.

Many Canadian basketball fans were hoping Nash would return to his home country and play for the Toronto Raptors. When that didn't happen, fans across the continent expressed outrage upon hearing the news.

"He was seriously considering retiring so he could remain close to his children," said Nash's agent Bill Duffy. "We had to twist his arm to have an open mind. He didn't want to be away from his children, and this allows him to be in a competitive situation, and even though it's a rival, he wanted Phoenix to get some value back. It's a win-win," Duffy told USA TODAY Sports.

In his Lakers debut against the Dallas Mavericks at the Staples Center, Nash wasn't able to produce as much as he would have liked. He put up just seven points, four assists and two rebounds in an unexpected defeat.

On Halloween night, facing the Portland Trail Blazers, Nash was forced to leave the game with a leg injury. The injury must have occurred during a small collision with Portland's Damian Lillard and ESPN reports the injury as a contusion of the left leg. In other words, it's a deep bruise.

But Nash is tough; he's played through some gruesome injuries before.

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Given that Nash is now 38 years old, any injury at this point in his career is not good news. Fortunately for Lakers fans, it doesn't sound as though it will keep him out of the lineup for long.

Nash had originally returned to the game after briefly leaving following the contact with Lillard. But just over a minute into the second half, it became obvious he was in some considerable discomfort.

The Lakers gave up first-round picks in 2013 and 2015 and second-round picks in 2013 and 2014, plus $3 million in cash to receive Nash's services. But let's not forget about Los Angeles' true star.

Kobe Bryant had been momentarily pushed to the side when Nash came to town. The Lakers' 14-time All-Star has been the face of the franchise for over a decade.

Though Nash's injury isn't considered overly significant, it does put Bryant back in the spotlight, if he wasn't there already.

"I'm not a very happy camper around here right now," Bryant told reporters following the Lakers' loss to Dallas (via ESPN)

If Los Angeles is to regain its winning ways, Bryant will now need to utilize Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard to achieve success. Of course, Bryant has the talent to win games by himself. But if the Lakers are to gel together as a team, he will need to spread the ball to win games.

Both Bryant and Nash have the talent to coach and mentor younger players. Whether Bryant is able to do so effectively is up in the air, but now he'll need to go back to what he's been doing the last couple of seasons.

There's no doubt Bryant is a winner. He's a five-time NBA champion and has been the Finals MVP twice.

Though there's a new cast and crew in Hollywood these days, Bryant still needs to lead his team to the top of the standings.

Just as he's done many times before.

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