As the Phoenix Suns continue their playoff run and hope to surprise the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Western Conference Final, 36 year-old Steve Nash continues to deal with the wear and tear from a long and physical season.
The Victoria, B.C. native has the Suns two wins away from the NBA Finals, but his playoff run has been marred by almost-consistent (and even somewhat comical) facial injuries. Nash took an elbow to the eye from San Antonio’s Tim Duncan in the Western Conference semi-final. Even though his right eye had swollen shut, it didn’t stop Nash as he dropped 10 of his 20 points to lead the Suns to a 107-101 win, sweeping the Spurs in the process.
– For the “evolution of Nash’s eye injury” – check out this photo gallery.
Fast forward to game three against L.A. and Nash was at it again. His face clashed with the head of Lakers guard Derek Fisher. The result: a broken nose. But one more time, Nash showed his grit and desire for post season glory, as the Suns took game three, 118-109.
While the facial injuries have come up frequently when it comes to Nash in this NBA post-season, an integral part of his along with the Suns success, lies in Nash’s dedication to year-round training.
That’s where Vancouver Physiotherapist Rick Celebrini steps in.
The pair work closely together to keep Nash loose and as fresh as possible for the rigors’ of a long NBA regular and post-season. Part of the duo’s commitment to fitness is a strong focus on Nash’s core; and that’s something that former Canadian national team coach and current Toronto Raptors bench boss Jay Triano has noticed, along with TEAM 1040 sports business commentator, Tom Mayenknecht.
Triano – “He’s done an amazing job of taking care of his body and getting stronger. His core strength is unparalleled in the league, it really is.
The way he can stop and turn on a dime and make plays with both sides of his body… left hand, right hand, finish with both, I think that he’s arguably playing some of the best basketball of his career right now and he’s at an age where most players would be in the twilight of their career.”
Mayenknecht – “I tell you, a big part of that credit goes to Rick Celebrini of Vancouver… Celebrini is the highly touted, internationally recognized physiotherapist, who is working with Steve Nash and has been for the last several years.
And if you wonder about the fitness level that Steve Nash brings to the Suns, game-in – game-out, a big part of the credit has to go to Rick Celebrini of Vancouver… and it’s just another reminder that we have some of the best people in the business here in British Columbia, on the sport medicine, science and training side of things… Rick Celebrini and Steve Nash are just another example of that.”
Celebrini is a sports and orthopedic physiotherapist who has completed a residency in manipulative therapy and has gone on to teach around the world about the techniques of athletic movement re-education for various chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
Rick has been a therapist and consultant with the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, the Canadian Soccer Association, the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, and the NHL Players Association. He also treats many professional athletes, including former two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash.
A member of the SportMedBC network, Celebrini’s been to two Olympic Games as a physiotherapist and the Pan-American games as an athlete. He was also Chief Therapist for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver – Whistler.