With an MRI showing a bone bruise and cartilage damage in his right knee, Lakers forward Xavier Henry will be sidelined for the next seven to 10 days.
The Lakers’ initial timeline means Henry is slated to miss at least the next three games at Staples Center against Milwaukee (Tuesday), Utah (Friday) and Denver (Friday). It’s currently unclear if Henry could return in time for the Lakers’ two-game trip next week in Dallas (Jan. 7) and Houston (Jan. 8). The Lakers will reevaluate him around that time frame, making it possible Henry could miss even more time.
Pau Gasol has healed his upper respiratory infection enough to feel comfortable playing Tuesday against Utah. But the Lakers also remain hobbled by other injuries, including Kobe Bryant (fractured left knee), Steve Nash (nerve issues in back) and Steve Blake (hyperextended right elbow). Lakers center Chris Kaman also missed practice on Monday because of sprained left ankle, though he is expected to play Tuesday vs. Milwaukee.
“He’s sore,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said of Henry before the MRI results were available. “But we hope he’s not bad. But he’s been a point guard so he might be out for a couple of years.”
That means the Lakers will have to rely plenty on Jordan Farmar, who will play against Milwaukee despite missing Monday’s practice after recently returning from a strained left hamstring. The Lakers’ backup point guard will be Kendall Marshall, who was recently plucked from the Development League. In the Lakers’ 111-104 loss Sunday to the Philadelphia 76ers, Marshall posted eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, three assists and two turnovers in just over 16 minutes.
Henry injured his knee after driving toward the basket late in the first quarter when Thaddeus Young stole the ball from him. Henry’s momentum caused his knee to buckle after making a couple of extra steps.
Henry described the knee Sunday night as “a little swollen,” but sounded optimistic about his recovery.
“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.”
Henry quickly morphed from a training-camp invitee to a dependable swingman who soon started a few games at point guard. He has averaged 10.1 points in 21.8 minutes namely by driving aggressively to the basket.
Henry has to stay on the roster past Jan. 10 for his contract worth $916,099 to become guaranteed.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org