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Phil Jackson expresses admiration for Steve Nash's ability to play with a swollen right eye

May 13, 2010 |  9:31 am

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has coached his fair share of players overcoming physical limitations.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan overcame the flu and still managed to score 38 points despite lacking his usual explosiveness in the 78-73 Game 5 victory over the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals. And, of course, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant this season has fought valiantly in compensating for his various finger, ankle and knee injuries this season, appearing to turn a corner by scoring at least 30 points in the last five games.

That's why Jackson expressed admiration for Phoenix guard Steve Nash managing to play through Game 4 of the Suns' series-clinching win against the San Antonio Spurs with essentially one eye after Tim Duncan's errant elbow caused his right eye to remain swollen shot. "That's a personification of who he is," Jackson said of Nash, whom the Lakers plan to guard this series with Derek Fisher. "He likes to compete and he wouldn't want to give up that opportunity."

--Mark Medina

--Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com


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