Steve Nash went through his first hard practice in seven weeks Thursday and came away encouraged about playing again – whenever that might be.

Nash, who has not played since suffering a fractured lower left leg in the second game of the season, still is unsure whether he will make his anticipated return to the Lakers' lineup Saturday or Christmas Day.

The Lakers play at Golden State on Saturday and at home against the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

"It depends on how it responds tomorrow and see how I feel Saturday when I wake up. We'll see," Nash said. "We don't need to rush it. I don't want to come back too soon, although that's the tendency.

"But I don't want to miss another 10 games because I've aggravated something."

Nash not only suffered a broken leg but also nerve damage when he was kicked in the second quarter against Portland on Oct. 31. He has spent the past two months on the bench watching the team struggle to find its consistency. Meanwhile, Coach Mike D'Antoni repeatedly has pointed to Nash's return as some sort of lifesaver for the Lakers.

"I hope it's a turning point because we're not very good right now," D'Antoni said. "Something better turn."

Nash, however, waved a cautionary flag in advance of his first few games. He continues to experience pain in his leg, something he expects to play through the next month or so. The 38-year-old point guard also said his conditioning is a problem.

"The pain isn't the issue. I don't mind playing through the pain," Nash said. "It's more (a question of) am I doing damage to it and is it going to prevent me from playing the rest of the season? We have to measure that as the next two days go by.

"I'm not in great condition for being inactive for seven weeks, but that's just harsh reality that it's going to be a painful period as I not only try to get myself back into shape, but find my game and rhythm and timing."