EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - After every misfortune and injury setback during the most frustrating season of his career, Steve Nash only wants to finish the year on the court with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Nash said he is "very confident" he will return from a hamstring injury for Los Angeles' playoff opener at San Antonio on Sunday, hopefully adding another major contributor to the Lakers' late-season surge.
The two-time NBA MVP practiced with his teammates at their training complex Friday, going through half-court offensive drills and testing his injured right hamstring.
Nash hasn't played in April, missing Los Angeles' final eight games with the latest injury in a year that began with a broken leg in the Lakers' second game.
"I just don't want to overpromise and get ahead of myself," Nash said. "The last almost three weeks now, I wake up every morning, thinking, 'Today's the day,' and then I want to hang myself after practice, so I don't want to overpromise."
Nash hasn't been able to run at full speed, a serious problem for a floor leader with a game predicated on movement and anticipation. But after receiving recent epidural injections, Nash believes he can be in the starting lineup when the seventh-seeded Lakers open in San Antonio.
"Especially the last two weeks, I couldn't sprint," he said. "There was just too much inhibition from the nerve, and it was just shutting me down whenever I tried to cover some ground. It's hard to play in an NBA game if you can't change ends of the floor. That's the last little bit I'm hoping for, and it's feeling pretty close."
Noah unsure if he'll play
DEERFIELD, Ill. - Center Joakim Noah's status for the Chicago Bulls' first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets is in question because of his injured right foot.
Noah did little in practice on Friday. He said he is not sure if he'll play in Game 1 at Brooklyn today, and coach Tom Thibodeau called him day to day for the series.
Record TV ratings
ABC and ESPN had their most viewers ever for NBA coverage. ABC averaged 4.7 million viewers for its 15 broadcasts and ESPN averaged 1.8 million viewers for its 77 telecasts.