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Steve Nash doubtful as winless Lakers host Clippers

(Steve Dykes / EPA)

This is not the way the Lakers planned to usher in the new Bryant-Howard-Nash era in Los Angeles.

Two gamesTwo losses. And one injury to the one player in their starting lineup who was fully healthy coming into the season.

Point guard Steve Nash is doubtful for Friday’s intra-city game against the Clippers at Staples Center after he suffered a lower-leg bruise in the first half of Wednesday’s loss in Portland. Nash did not practice Thursday and was reportedly walking with a limp.

“Luckily, it’s not anything major or structural. It’s just a contusion in a bad area,” Nash said Thursday. “Maybe I’m too optimistic to say doubtful, but it’s definitely touch and go.”

After their season-opening 99-91 loss to the Dirk Nowitzki-less Mavericks, Nash noted the lack of time on court for the team’s new starting lineup during a preseason in which both Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant missed time due to injury.

“It’s growing pains, and it’s a struggle,” the two-time NBA MVP said. “We’re out of sync, and we’re going to probably have some more moments in games like that.”

Through two games, Nash is shooting 33 percent from the field with nine points and eight assists (he only played 16 minutes against Portland), and his biggest challenge will be feeling out his role alongside a ball-dominant player like Bryant.

But to those already calling for coach Mike Brown’s ouster, Bryant has a clear message.

“I’ve won so I can (tell people to shut up),” Bryant said (via ESPN Los Angeles). “For Mike it might be a little tough to say that so I’ll say it for him: ‘Everybody shut up. Let us work. At the end of the day, you’ll be happy with the result as you normally are.’ “

Steve Blake will start at the point if Nash cannot go, and if the Lakers can get in the win column tonight, they could even their record on Sunday when they host Detroit.

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