While there was hardly any good to take away from the Los Angeles Lakers in the past few years, one of the few bright spots at one time was the possible emergence of Xavier Henry.
After stints with the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans, Henry provided a much-need spark plug for a struggling Lakers squad averaging 10 points, two rebounds and a steal per game. Unfortunately, his breakout season came to an end after he required surgery for a torn ligament in his wrist and a cartilage issue in his knee.
Henry came back briefly the next year before an ACL rupture would ultimately result in his subsequent release. However, the 25-year-old Henry still hasn’t given up on his dream of a comeback, attending the Lakers free agent minicamp and even catching the eye of his former employer, general manager Mitch Kupchak via Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com:
“I think its’s testament to a great kid,” Kupchak said. “That’s nothing new to us. We know the kid and we know what kind of heart he has. He’s had several different types of injuries and he’s worked his way through it. He’s still young enough to make a run at the NBA and playing basketball professionally, so we wish him the best.”
Despite his fair share of troubles with injury, the 25-year-old Henry feels those experiences have only made him stronger:
“I think I’ve learned patience, not to get down on yourself and really just to count your blessings,” Henry said. “Right now, every second I’m on the court I enjoy it. I love it. No matter what it is (or how) hard, tough. Because I’ve been through a year and a half, two years where I wasn’t able to do anything.”
Henry’s chances at a roster spot are anything but guaranteed, but the Lakers will likely have one open roster spot assuming the team trades or releases Nick Young as is rumored to be the case.
Whether or not Henry can do so, or is even invited to Lakers training camp remains to be seen, but it is certainly good to see him working hard to return after an unfortunate string of bad luck.