PHOENIX — It wouldn’t be a Phoenix Suns playoff series if Steve Nash didn’t suffer a facial injury. This time it’s his nose after Derek Fisher collided with Nash near the end of Game 3, but luckily for the two-time MVP and all of Planet Orange, Suns doctor Ryan Rehl confirmed that his nose is in fact not broken.
Rehl diagnosed him with a “minimally displaced nasal fracture with displaced cartilage.” Nash went through a full practice today but was on his way to see the doctor after, where he is expected to undergo a “minor reduction” to set the nose back in place.
“My nose feels good so it shouldn’t be a problem at all,” Nash said after practice. “I’m lucky, I’ve had a couple of bumps and bruises that haven’t affected my play.”
Nash made it clear that he will not wear a mask in Game 4.
Although the nose isn’t broken and shouldn’t affect his play, there is no question that it’s a painful injury and the way Nash has handled yet another ailment speaks volumes about his toughness.
“To me I think he’s as tough as they come. He’s the epitome of what the hockey mentality is,” said head coach Alvin Gentry. “He just keeps going. You saw what happened in the game last night, he tried to rearrange his own nose. He’s a gamer.”
Added Jared Dudley: “He was a hockey guy growing up. He told me he played rugby, so he’s used to contact. He knows he has to be out there, so he sucks it up. It’s kind of his culture growing up. For him (to play through it is) no surprise to me.”
Bynum will play in Game 4
Late Sunday night Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said that he would consider sitting slightly-hobbled center Andrew Bynum for Game 4 after he posted two points, two rebounds and four fouls in just under eight minutes of action during Game 3. But after watching the film and speaking to Bynum briefly this morning, Jackson expects to play the seven-footer Tuesday night.
“I think he’s going to be fine,” Jackson said. “I talked to him this morning, he feels like he’s OK. I was worried that he was impinging his ability to play by concern about his health and his status. He says he’s OK.”
Bynum was adamant that he is going to play on Tuesday and said, “I’m going to play until I can’t.”
While the Lakers big man will play Tuesday night, it is a different story whether or not he can actually produce. The Suns finally found some success in the paint in Game 3, and Bynum’s absence was a huge reason why.
“He’s a big presence for us and when he’s effective he can really make a big impact in the game,” Pau Gasol said of his teammate. “I will like to see more of him out there and be as aggressive as he is, but again I don’t know much is knee is bothering him and limiting him and how much Phil wants to use him.”
Frye still has the green light despite shooting woes
After an absolutely abysmal start to the Western Conference Finals — 1-for-20 shooting and four total points — Channing Frye still has the green light from Gentry and won’t see a decrease in playing time.
“I’ll continue to use him because he’s a great shooter and he’s had a great year for us,” Gentry said. “He’s going through a tough time right now, but we still believe in him, and that’s why I still play him. We’re not about to give up on him. I’ll stick him out there tomorrow.”
Despite making only one shot through three games against LA, the 172 threes he nailed during the regular season still stick out in the minds of Frye’s teammates, who still have confidence in the struggling sharpshooter.
“He’s going to have a breakout game for us, it’s just a matter of time,” said fellow shooter Jason Richardson. “He knows it, everybody knows it. He just needs to hit that one shot and he’ll get out of it.”
Frye is equally as confident that his shooting woes will come to an end Tuesday night.
“It’s going in tomorrow though, I’ll tell you that. They’re going in tomorrow,” he said. “I’m not going to stop shooting, it’s what I’m the best at and I really believe in myself and so do my teammates.”
Amare free agent talk arises again
With all of the national media in town, it was inevitable that the topic of Amare’s free agency this summer would come up. Amare said that he doesn’t quite feed into the free agency talk and blocks it out and just focuses on basketball.
When he was asked whether or not he can see himself returning to the Suns after they shopped him this season, he said,”Yeah, I definitely can. Even though during that time it was difficult to deal with during the trade rumors, I think now we’re doing a great job with rallying up and really playing.”