The Los Angeles Lakers met for practice on Sunday before boarding a flight to Portland.
As is customary this season, the Lakers updated the injury status for several players. First of all, Nick Young was ruled out for Monday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers. However, the Lakers did get some good news before boarding their flight.
Xavier Henry was back at Practice on Sunday and expected to play on Monday.
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Henry last appeared for the Lakers on Dec. 29 before a knee injury forced him out for over two months. The 22-year-old guard is not exactly walking into the team untested. Henry played a couple games with the Lakers’ NBA Development League affiliate. Similar to a baseball player going on a rehab assignment with a minor league team, Henry started two games for the Los Angeles Defenders before taking part in Sunday’s Lakers practice.
“I’m pain free. I feel good,” Henry said on Sunday. “Now, it’s all about my wind, my body.”
Henry said he was a bit heavier but was eating healthy and working to strengthen his legs. His goal was to return to being the same explosive player that had fans, coaches and teammates excited earlier in the season.
Although Henry's motivation is obvious, any team that is out of contention at this point in the season faces a challenge of renewing goals for the remainder of a disappointing season. Would the Lakers lose their fight?
“Your mentality does not change in how you approach the game,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni argued.
D’Antoni said the team’s goals included developing individual players, improving as a team and playing entertaining basketball. With only a month and a half remaining in the season, the Lakers will hope to get everyone healthy and assess which pieces they would like to bring back next season.
On a related note, Kobe Bryant is back traveling with the team. He was scheduled to fly up to Portland with the team. However, Bryant still has no definitive timeline for a return this season.