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Lakers' Nash plans to play Tuesday against Jazz

LOS ANGELES -- There was some positive injury news Monday for the Los Angeles Lakers, which led to one immediate reaction.

Couldn't be true.

But Steve Nash said he would play Tuesday against Utah after leaving Sunday's game because of nerve irritation in his left knee and subsequent back pain from limping too heavily.

Nash, who turned 40 on Friday, also said he had not considered retirement despite his latest injury.

"Right now I have no intentions to stop playing," Nash said.

Assuming he plays one more game, his $9.7 million salary next season would not come off the Lakers' books after this season if he was forced into medical retirement because of persistent back pain.

Until last week, Nash had played only six games this season because of nerve damage in his back.

Nash exited Sunday's game after banging knees with Chicago guard Kirk Hinrich while driving to the basket in the third quarter of the Lakers' 92-86 loss to the Bulls.

He originally injured the knee in October 2012 after a collision with Portland's Damian Lillard, which caused a fracture at the time and, later, nerve damage in Nash's knee.

He took part in some walk-throughs at Monday's practice but did not do anything beyond light shooting.

"It's probably going to flare up from time to time," Nash said. "It's still a little irritated, but it's not too bad."

Nash played well against Philadelphia on Friday, totaling 19 points and five assists.

He had eight points and two assists Sunday before getting hurt.

After playing Utah, the Lakers play host to Oklahoma City on Thursday before a five-day break for All-Star weekend.

Nash wasn't considering sitting out both games, he said.

"There's no reason to sit if it's better (Tuesday) and I feel pretty good," he said.

Six other Lakers are not expected to play this week: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar, Nick Young and Xavier Henry.

Gasol, who has a strained groin, was seen working out on an elliptical machine Monday at the training facility and could return to action after the All-Star break.

He will have missed at least six games.

DROPPED AGAIN

In the latest sign of a dreary season, the Lakers were dumped from national TV a third time when ESPN and the NBA decided Monday to drop coverage of the Brooklyn-Lakers game Feb. 23.

Instead, ESPN will show the Houston-Phoenix game.

ESPN has now dropped the Lakers twice this season while TNT has dumped one of their games.

(c)2014 Los Angeles Times

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