Steve Nash

After missing practice and an exhibition game on Thursday (Oct. 16), due to a back injury, it looks like Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash had hurt himself worst than first thought… and has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

The Lakers and Nash announced the decision in a press release Thursday, just as the team gears up for the start of what would’ve been Nash 19th season — believed to be his last.

“Being on the court this season has been my top priority, and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now,” Nash said. “I work very hard to stay healthy, and unfortunately, my recent setback makes performing at full capacity difficult. I will continue to support my team during this period of rest, and will focus on my long-term health.”

The press release said the 40-year-old star would “focus on rest and rehabilitation.” He’s currently in the final season of his three-year contract with the Lakers, earning $9 million this season, but the club’s announcement made no mention of possible retirement.

Since the Lakers acquired Nash from the Phoenix Suns in the summer of 2012, as they attempted to assemble a title contender built around him, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, he’s played just 65 games for the club.

“As disappointed as we are for ourselves and our fans, we’re even more disappointed for Steve,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “We know how hard he’s worked the last two years to try to get his body right for the rigors of the NBA, and how badly he wants to play, but unfortunately he simply hasn’t been able to get there up to this point in time. Steve has been a consummate professional, and we greatly appreciate his efforts.”