The season that couldn’t get any worse somehow did for the Lakers.
Reserve forward Xavier Henry sustained a torn Achilles’ tendon while taking part in three-on-three drills at Monday’s practice, becoming the third Lakers player to be lost for the season.
“Obviously, it brought practice straight down,” said Coach Byron Scott.
Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (broken leg) have also been lost for the season, and Ryan Kelly is sidelined at least five more weeks because of a hamstring tear.
The Lakers have spoken to the NBA about a hardship exception to add a 16th player. If granted, they would need to get back down to the regular-season maximum of 15 when Kelly returns.
The Lakers recently worked out a handful of players at their facility, including forwards Tyrus Thomas and Quincy Miller.
Henry, 23, was a pleasant surprise for the Lakers last season, averaging 10 points after making the team as little more than a training-camp signee. His hard-charging style to the basket drew respect from teammates and fans but created problems medically.
He sat out almost the entire second half of last season because of knee and wrist injuries that required off-season surgery. Last month, he flew to Germany for another procedure, the so-called Regenokine treatment, on his still-troublesome knee.
Henry averaged 2.2 points and shot just 23.1% in 13 games this season.
His loss is a more symbolic than statistical setback, another shock to the system of a team with a 3-11 record.
“He just made a move, like most guys do when they mess up their Achilles’,” Scott said. “Nobody hit him or anything like that. He went down and pretty much said to us that he heard a pop. We helped him in the locker room. Kobe [Bryant] and [Carlos] Boozer are in there with him, but obviously, he was devastated.”
Henry was scheduled to have surgery Tuesday.
Even injured, Henry could still be traded after Dec. 15 or waived outright but would earn his entire $1.1-million salary for the season.
The Lakers are eligible to apply for a disabled player exception, worth half of his salary, but $541,000 might not be enough to acquire another player through trade, waiver claim or free agency.
The Lakers are still waiting to hear from the NBA on their request for a $4.9-million disabled player exception for Nash.
The league quickly granted the team a $1.5-million disabled player exception for Randle, but that was a relatively simple case, with little for a league-appointed independent medical examiner to investigate.
In Nash’s situation, an investigator is thought to be looking through years of medical records before making a determination. Nash, who broke his leg in just his second game of his three-year contract with the Lakers, never truly returned to form, with chronic nerve issues developing in his back after the initial injury.
The NBA has to agree that Nash is out the entire season to grant a disabled player exception, which can be used by the Lakers to acquire a player making up to $4.9 million, either by waiver claim or free agency. The team would also be able to use it to trade for a player making up to $5 million.
Bresnahan is a Times staff writer. Pincus is a Times correspondent.