39-year old Steve Nash couldn’t get his sore left ankle loosened up enough to play past the first quarter last night against the Sacramento Kings. Though Nash remains cautiously optimistic, Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni admits that the injury could be a lingering headache throughout the season. Per the LA Times and LA Daily News: “He can only hope it’s not a season-long issue. The veteran point guard disclosed after the Lakers’ 104-86 defeat at MGM Grand Garden Arena that his ankle has bothered him since about a week before the start of training camp. ‘Tonight was just one of those nights that for whatever reason it just wasn’t moving freely and I couldn’t get it to loosen up and it started to get worse,’ said Nash, who went scoreless with two assists in only eight minutes. ‘I don’t want any setbacks so we called it, and I’ll just try to make sure I can get it right for the subsequent days before our next exhibition game.’ Nash said he hoped to play Tuesday when the Lakers open their two-game trip to China with an exhibition against the Golden State Warriors in Beijing. Did Nash, who will turn 40 in February, fear he might have to deal with the ankle all season long? ‘It has gotten better,’ he said. ‘At the start of camp, it wasn’t very good at all and then through camp it did improve and I think today was more of an unfortunate day than just a real problem. It could linger throughout the season, but I don’t expect that to be the case. I’m hoping that through this month I can try to put it behind me. It’s kind of a little bit of a dance because I need this time to prepare. At the same time, obviously you don’t want to pound the ankle to where I’m not able to function.’ [...] The Lakers had already limited Nash in practices and games in hopes the 39-year-old point guard can stay healthy. He missed 32 games last season, for reasons including a fractured left leg and persisting hamstring and back issues. Through two preseason games, Nash had averaged two points and 5.5 assists in 21.9 minutes. D’Antoni also sat Nash out of the team’s preseason opener to conserve his energy on the second night of a back-to-back game. Will Nash’s latest injury prompt D’Antoni to limit him even more? ‘That will depend on his ankle,’ D’Antoni said. ‘He will tell me. He said he couldn’t warm it up. Every once in a while, it will happen.’”