The wait is finally over for Los Angeles Lakers guard Xavier Henry as he will make his return to the court in the team’s game on Monday against the Portland Trail Blazers, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
“I’m pain free and feel good,” Henry said Sunday after going through a full-contact practice with the Lakers. “But it’s about my wind and body and being heavier than I was and trying to eat right and trying to get back into shape.”
Henry has been out since Dec. 29 due to a bone bruise that he suffered against the Philadelphia 76ers. It has been a difficult recovery process for the 22-year-old as he has experienced two setbacks in his rehab. The first occurred on Jan. 12 after a individual workout as he experienced swelling in his right knee that forced him to scale back his recovery to just non-weight-bearing exercises for the following few days afterward.
The second occurred a day before to the Lakers’ game on Jan. 26 against the New York Knicks, as the team determined that he would need to stay out at least another 10-14 days due to the persistent swelling in his right knee that required an MRI the following day.
Over this past weekend Henry had taken another step further in his recovery as he played in two rehabilitation games with the team’s D-League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, as he averaged 17.0 points on 38.2 percent shooting, 2.0 rebounds and 3.5 steals in 24.5 minutes played.
So as he continues to work his way back into form, head coach Mike D’Antoni stated that Henry needs to shed some excessive weight. The three-year guard said that it is only a few pounds that was gained due to the fact that he’s not played in an NBA game over the last two months.
“It’s not a lot of pounds,” Henry said. “But there’s a difference from my legs being strong and carrying my body and my legs being off two months and I have to get my legs strong to carry everything I do. I’m pretty aggressive. I cut and run real hard. Things like that, my legs have to be strong to do that. I haven’t been able to do that. Now I have to get my legs back.”
With Henry back into the fold there is now a logjam in the Lakers’ backcourt as he will also have to compete for playing time with the team’s trade deadline additions MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore, who have both played well since joining the team.
But that does not appear to be a concern for D’Antoni as he is confident that Henry will etch out some minutes. However, his main concern will be how the 22-year-old’s right knee reacts as it has been classified having an abnormality of the lateral meniscus.
“You know that he’s going to have to play, you worry about it a little bit just because you don’t want anything to happen to it,” D’Antoni said of Henry’s knee. “But at the same time if it acts up you get the meniscus clipped at the end of the year and it would be fine. So it’s not a big deal in the sense of future, but it’s, he wants to play and he feels like he can.”
Nonetheless, the fact that Henry is making his return to the court on Monday night is a encouraging sign for him as it has been a difficult last couple of months.
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