An MRI taken on Monday shows that Lakers reserve forward Xavier Henry has a ruptured left Achilles tendon, an injury that will sideline him for the rest of the 2014-15 season.
Henry suffered the injury during a 3-on-3 drill during Monday’s practice, and Lakers officials immediately feared what the MRI later confirmed. The Lakers (3-11) have played only 14 games, but they already have season-ending injuries to veteran guard Steve Nash (back) and rookie forward Julius Randle (right leg). Lakers reserve forward Ryan Kelly is also sidelined for at least the next five weeks amid recurring injuries to his hamstrings.
Because of their long-term absences, Nash, Randle and Henry will have missed a combined 236 games due to injuries. Last season, the Lakers missed a combined 319 games in what marked their worst season in L.A. franchise history.
Henry is scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday morning with Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. Steve Lombardo of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. As of now, the Lakers have not offered any estimated recovery timetable other than Henry will not play for the remainder of the season.
Henry only averaged 2.2 points in 9.6 minutes through nine games while playing for two games for the Lakers’ Development League affiliate, the D-Fenders. That marks a steep dropoff from the career-high 10 points he posted last season despite missing 39 games because of injuries to his left wrist and right knee, both of which had offseason surgery. Henry also underwent the so-called Regenokine treatment on his knee in Dusseldorf, Germany, but Lakers coach Byron Scott noticed his explosiveness had diminished.
The Lakers have not committed toward what their next step will entail. But they would be eligible to apply for a disabled player exception that would be worth about $550,000, about half of Henry’s salary. The Lakers were granted a $1.5 million disabled player exception for Randle, but are still waiting from the NBA on their $4.5 million disabled player exception on Nash. All of the exceptions have to be used separately either to sign a player through free agency or through a trade.
With the Lakers fielding four injured players, they are also eligible to apply for the NBA’s hardship exception, which allows a team to add a 16th player on their roster. Once Kelly returns, the Lakers would then have to trim their roster down to 15. Only Ronnie Price and Wayne Ellington have non-guaranteed contracts;.