Injuries, NOLA depth at wing roadblocks for Henry
By: Kyle Bass, Hornets.com
Entering his third season in the NBA and second with the New Orleans Hornets, things haven’t exactly gone according to plan for Xavier Henry. The 6-foot-6 swingman was selected 12th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2010 NBA Draft after just one season at the University of Kansas, where he earned Freshman All-American honors.
Since then, injuries have derailed Henry’s career and development in the NBA. Henry has missed 46 games due to injury in just two years. He has been unfortunate and missed games due to injuries to an ankle, a knee and his neck.
Entering this season the third year veteran hoped to have a breakout year with a full bill of health. However, Henry got tangled up with teammate Ryan Anderson in the preseason opener and suffered a strained MCL. While many players may use the injury as an excuse, Henry takes a different approach.
“It’s been a little frustrating but I just try to keep my head up and keep working hard,” he said. “I’m doing a lot of rehabbing and working through it. There’s no time to sit out.”
With all the injuries, people may have forgotten how talented Henry is on the court. During his rookie season in Memphis he started in 16 games for a very competitive Grizzlies team and averaged 6.4 points while shooting 44 percent from the field in those contests. Henry believes the coaching staff knows how valuable he can be to the team, but knows he has to prove his worth.
“I still have to show that I can shoot the ball and can still attack the basket. Defensively, I have to show that I’m ahead of the game, knowing where I’m supposed to be at when I’m supposed to be there.”
While there may be plenty of options at the wing positions of shooting guard and small forward, both Henry and Hornets head coach Monty Williams hope the talented wing can get healthy enough to contribute on the court this season.
“Xavier is a young guy who is getting better and can help us, but he’s had those nagging injuries and is trying to get better,” said Williams. “He’s capable of playing really well. Xavier can shoot it, and he can attack the basket really well.”