That's a no, Canada

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

It's not a question of wanting to play for Canada, Steve Nash says.

It's a question of whether his 33-year-old body can withstand an 82-game NBA season and then ask the same of his body a year later with little or no rest in between.

Much to the dismay of Canada Basketball and Canadian basketball fans everywhere, Nash has determined the answer is an emphatic no.

"I wish I could play," Nash said last night. "Some people say 'Well, obviously you can,' but I don't think people realize how difficult it is for me to do what I do for the Suns and accept the responsibility I have with this team, physically, mentally, emotionally and everything that goes with that off the court.

"It's a lot and I think it would really be a detriment to both parties if I played this summer."

Canada Basketball, through a fifth-place finish at the FIBA Americas qualifying tournament in Las Vegas in August, has earned a berth in a last-chance Olympic qualifier next June. National team coach Leo Rautins has said he would make whatever concessions necessary to get Nash into a Team Canada uniform. Listening to Nash yesterday, there are no concessions Rautins can make that would change his mind.

"For me to play at the level I play at I have to train pretty hard to get there," Nash said. "I can't just show up the week before and play and expect the performance I would expect or that people would expect of me "

Playing year-round and maintaining his health is just not realistic according to Nash.

"I don't think I can afford to do that at this stage of my career without getting injured," he said.


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