Is medical retirement in Steve Nash’s near future?

Not many people gave Steve Nash a fighting chance to make it in the NBA after the kid from Canada came out of Santa Clara in 1996.

This was around the time the Phoenix Suns made Nash their 15th overall pick, before he became one of the most must-watch players in the game, before he won two NBA MVP titiles, was an 8-time all-star with stops in Dallas and now Los Angeles and even before all of the finger licking dime dropping and fall back jump shots.

But now comes the news out of LA that we may be watching the end of the Nash era before our eyes because of his gimpy back, as Nash is sidelined for the next two weeks.

Sad but true. 

Eric Pincus with the Los Angeles Times wonders out loud about the next steps for Nash and the Lakers:

“If he can't make it back, he may have already played in the final NBA game of his illustrious career, just weeks into his 18th season,” writes Pincus. “Should the Lakers' back specialist, Dr. Robert Watkins, determine that any additional effort by Nash to play would constitute a medically unacceptable risk, the veteran point guard may end his career via forced medical retirement.”

While the article prefaces the question by stating that retirement is not currently on the table, you have to imagine that both Nash and the Lakers are considering all options at this stage of the process and knowing Nash – who turns 40 this season — is in the twilight of an illustrious career that extends beyond basketball and into his well documented philanthropy work. 

But lets get into the dollars and cents of it all: Nash is owed $9.3 million this season and $9.7 million for next season. The medical retirement would bring about Nash being paid in full. Still, this comes down to league approval first. Clearly the precedence is set in the NBA thanks to prior experiences with Darius Miles, Brandon Roy and Cuttino Mobley, but we are talking about Steve Nash here.

It’s hard to swallow for everyone around the league and fans around the game if this becomes’ Nash’s harsh reality.

Nash's back troubles is part of a long list of injury woes, that has included ankle and neck pain during the preseason and now suffering nerve damage that stemmed from his broken leg last season.

"A lot of wear and tear, and a lot of mileage," Nash said while leaving the Staples Center on Sunday.

"There's a lot going on."