Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are probably not going to play again this season for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The injured stars have barely played this year, with Bryant playing in six games and Nash in 10.
Nash has been struggling with chronic back problems while Bryant fractured his knee in December.
The Lakers have sorely missed the pair, going 20-39 and uncharacteristically missing the playoffs.
Coach Mike D’Antoni said this week that Bryant hasn’t been medically cleared to play but even when he is he might not.
The doctors haven’t cleared Kobe so it’s a non-issue right now,” D’Antoni said, reported the LA Times. “The thing is, does he get back and play some games to get his rhythm back for next year or just wait? So I don’t know.”
He answered in response to a question about whether he sees advantages in Bryant trying to play.
“Not really,” he said, adding quickly. “That’s not on me. That’s something that they’ve got to figure out.”
He explained that it would take about 40 games to evaluate how Bryant and his teammates work together. Many of the Lakers are young players in the last years of their contracts. The Lakers only have 23 games left.
As for Nash, 40, he could be done for good.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” D’Antoni said. “What’s the endgame? We’ve talked about it. He’s not completely healthy. We have 23 games left. We’re not going to make the playoffs. So what’s his objective in taking minutes away from the young guys that we’re trying to develop?
“Now, if Steve starts to feel better, then we’ll see. It’s always an ongoing process in talking to him, but it’s not something that’s on the horizon right now.”
Nash himself said that he wants to come back next year. He’s under contract for $9.7 million.