In a season of demoralizing injuries that refuse to subside, the Los Angeles Lakers received rare good injury news—kind of. Xavier Henry, who was already ruled out for the season, underwent successful surgeries to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist and to correct cartilage abnormality in his right knee.
Fittingly, even the good injury news was related to a player who was no longer playing.
Henry was a valuable contributor in his lone season with the Lakers. Primarily used as a scorer off the bench, Henry averaged career-highs in games played, minutes, points, steals, assists, rebounds, free throw percentage and field goal percentage.
Only in his fourth year as a professional, the 23-year-old excited fans with his aggressive style of play, highlighted by high-flying drunks and aerial acrobatics.
The former Kansas Jayhawk drew high praise from Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni throughout the season. The coach went so far as to say that Henry proved he could play in the league, something the coach was unsure of entering the season.
One notable characteristic Henry displayed was mental and physical toughness. The Belgian-born shooting guard hinted at his pain threshold by playing though a cut on his forehead early in the season. Constantly in danger due to his style of play, Henry did not relent and attempted to play through a knee injury that kept him out for two months.
After tearing a ligament in his left wrist, which was especially problematic for the left-handed player, Henry insisted on playing through the pain and led the Lakers as the leading scorer in a win over the New York Knicks--the game which Knick president Phil Jackson and Lakers president Jeanie Buss both attended.
Soon after, the Lakers training staff and coaching staff decided that they had seen enough of the 23-year-old. Henry was shut down, and surgeries to repair the damage done to his knee and wrist were scheduled.
On Friday, the surgeries were deemed a success, and Henry was expected to make a full recovery before the start of training camp. Whether Henry is back with the Lakers, however, remains to be seen, as he is an unrestricted free agent.