By CRAIG DANIELS -- Toronto Sun
SYDNEY -- Victoria's Steve Nash is playing through a significant knee injury and a serious degree of pain.
For the sake of the storybook hopes of Nash and the men's basketball team, Canadians can only pray he manages to withstand it for the rest of the Olympic tournament
"I haven't said anything about it," Nash said last night, "but it's pretty bad. Hopefully I can keep going. I think I can."
Nash, Canada's starting point guard and undisputed catalyst and team leader, banged knees with teammate Peter Guarasci of Niagara Falls during the first five minutes of Canada's upset win over Australia in the first game of the tournament.
Nash, who scored 15 points and added four assists in Canada's 77-59 loss to Russia last night, is one of the toughest players to wear a Canadian uniform, emotionally and physically. For him to admit he's hurting means the injury is significant.
"It's a deep bruise," Nash said. "It's preventing me from being able to do some things (on the court). I'm hoping that as the tournament progresses it starts to heal on its own."
Team officials, worried that news of the injury will give opponents an advantage, declined to say which knee is injured.
Head coach Jay Triano sat Nash out from practice after the Australian game in order to give the injury a chance to heal.
Canada caught a break in the team's second game against Angola.
Nash started but the team ran up a big lead early, allowing Triano to play backup point guard David Daniels for extended periods and give Nash some rest.
Canada is a surprising 3-1 and second in its pool -- in no small part because of Nash, who plays for the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.
Nash said the pain is worst just before taking to the court.
"Once I get warmed up, I seem to be able to deal with it."