Much-missed Lakers point guard Steve Nash lent hope to the idea that he'll be back before Christmas with a positive report Thursday night on his recovery from a fractured left fibula.

"I have been running the last day and a half, and it has been responding very well," Nash said. "It hasn't been a huge load, but it is something."

Nash indicated he could start practicing again next week, and the Lakers have three days without a game — a good opportunity for on-court work with his teammates — before they play at Golden State on Dec. 22, then Dec. 25 vs. the New York Knicks at home.

"I still can't do certain things," Nash said. "Right now, I am knocking down hurdles. The first one is being able to run, and the next one is taking some contact."

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said weeks ago that Nash's recovery has been complicated by nerve irritation in the leg, causing ongoing pain. Nash was hurt in the Lakers' second game.

"I hope I can help when I come back," Nash said. "Regardless of who has been in and out of the lineup, it has been a difficult season. Not only are we trying to learn a new system without a training camp, but we have a lot of guys who have not played together before. We are treading water and trying to find that connectivity. Hopefully we find that soon, because we are losing ground."