Xavier Henry calmly sat by his locker, bearing the same laid-back expression and tone that he does after posting a a breakout performance.
Yet, these circumstances were different. Henry had strained his right knee in the first quarter of the Lakers’ 111-104 loss Sunday to the Philadelphia 76ers at Staples Center. Henry will take an MRI on Monday after describing the knee as “a little swollen.” And the Lakers offered no evidence they will snap their five-game losing streak anytime soon.
But Henry still maintained optimistic everything would work out. Why?
“I just have faith everything will be okay,” said Henry, who was scoreless on two shot attempts in only four minutes and 26 seconds of play. “This is not the end of the world for me no matter what they say with the MRI. It’s part of God’s plan and I can only ride it.”
It’s certainly not the Lakers’ plan, though, to add yet another injury. They already played without Pau Gasol for the third time in the past five games because of an upper respiratory issue. The Lakers’ backcourt won’t fill out for at least two to four more weeks with injuries to Kobe Bryant (fractured left knee), Steve Nash (nerve issues in back) and Steve Blake (hyperextended right elbow).
Though Jordan Farmar played the past three games after nursing a strained left hamstring, the Lakers still relied on Henry to play at the backup point guard spot. Coach Mike D’Antoni trusted Henry despite last playing the position in AAU than Kendall Marshall, who was just plucked out of the Development League.
That all changed when Henry landed awkwardly on a drive, prompting some concerns on whether Henry needs to dial back his aggressiveness driving toward the basket.
“Not at all. I think I bring something to the team that not a lot of guys can do in getting to the basket and being able to attack other people and change the pace of the game,” Henry said. “Everyone gets hurt at some point in time. I’m never going to be completely injury free. I’m not just going to change my game, attacking and when to attack. It’s better to keep people on your heels anyway.”
But now Henry is on his heels He faces uncertainty about his health. Henry has to stay on the roster past Jan. 10 for his contract worth $916,099 to become guaranteed. And yet, Henry talked about his setback with hardly a worry of look on his face.
“There’s nothing I can do about it,” Henry said. “Getting mad or sad about it isn’t going to help. When it first happened, I wondered why. I can’t do anything about it. I can’t magically heal my knee and say I’m ready. I have to go through the process and see how it goes.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org