What Steve Nash Is Facing in His Return to the Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers season is becoming something like a Beckett play. Instead of a crossroads, the setting would be the training room. Perhaps Jerry and Jeanie Buss could be sitting outside the door, waiting for Kobe Bryant to come back. However, he's hardly the only key to winning. Steve Nash has missed the entire season and at the twilight of his career, this crossroads of the Lakers may affect whether he ever will return.

Steve Nash was expected to be the kind of ball-handling point guard that could play limited minutes, but important minutes. It was the missing piece to the Lakers last year. This year, Nash is yet another luxury for a team decimated by injuries and in the midst of a rebuild. With Nash sidelined due to chronic back issues, the team is looking more like a lottery team and less like "Hollywood Nights."

The back injury has become more than a localized problem. Nash has complained of pain and weakness in his legs, which is a common complaint. Even with surgery, it's often difficult to get back to full function or a pain-free life. Add in Nash's age and the demands of the position, and it's easy to understand why he's struggled to even practice at times. 

While Dr. Neel Anand hasn't examined Nash, he is one of the top spine specialists in the country and has dealt with hundreds of similar cases. "While we don't know what the exact problem is," Dr. Anand explained, "what we do know are the symptoms, and that is important. The biggest worry is what appears to be severe radiculopathy." 

Radiculopathy is a very tough diagnosis. In most cases, it's a chronic condition that is one of the leading causes of workplace disability. The pain radiates from the spine out to inflamed nerves, sending electric jolts that can bring the strongest men to their knees, literally. It's debilitating for mailmen and factory workers, so it's hard to imagine how someone like Nash could play through it. Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers