Nash returns to Lakers practice, but can he save Los Angeles’ season?

If Steve Nash cannot help save the Los Angeles Lakers, then what?

It is an honest question to consider these days.

It takes more than just Kobe. This much we know. But right now Lakers' fans do not even want to go there. They apparently only want a healthy Nash available and those pesky Pau Gasol rumors to go away — or is it just for Gasol to go away?

If Thursday's news out of Los Angeles after Nash took part in a pain-free, full contact practice since injuring his left leg on Halloween night is any indication that the Lakers free-fall season can land safely in the hands of a 38-year-old point guard, then just maybe all the talk of a Mike D'Antoni and Steve Nash reunion is more than simply blog fodder.

The date to circle on your calendar: Christmas Day.

That is when Nash says he will be ready to go against — that is right – D'Antoni's former New York Knicks.

'If I'm able to practice (Friday), see how I feel Saturday, we'll just see how it goes. But I think Christmas is probably the most realistic,' Nash said after practice. 

'I think the tendency is to rush back, but you definitely have to be careful…I don't want to rush back for two games and then be out for another extended period of time.'

Before fracturing his leg against Portland and having to sit and watch the Lakers limp by at 12-14 on the season, Nash has typically missed a handful of games during the last 13 seasons and the most amount of games he has missed was 26 games with Dallas during the 1999-2000 season.

Yet with how the Lakers were constructed, the offseason additions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, and a refurbished second unit, Los Angeles may have been built to win now, but without Nash in the mix it has only been more heartache since D'Antoni took over for the departed Mike Brown.

With Nash set to return within the next week and Gasol bouncing back from knee tendinitis, all eyes will be on the Lakers to climb up the Western Conference rankings where they currently sit at 12th.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

This time of the year is really about Christmas and the season of giving. So, what can Nash give to the Lakers once he steps back on the floor? A few needed wins? A steady leading presence on both ends? Someone to keep Kobe from jacking up shots left and right? Someone to get Gasol going in the Lakers offense?

If Nash has ever been looked at before as a savior, now is that time.