Xavier Henry takes over Kobe Bryant’s starting role for Lakers

Kobe Bryant and Xavier Henry (7) in a 2013 game. Like Bryant two seasons ago, Henry has ruptured his left Achilles' tendon.
(Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

With news that Kobe Bryant will miss six weeks with a knee fracture, the Lakers will turn to 6-foot-6 Xavier Henry to play point guard.

“I’m not going to say it’s difficult, but it’s different,” Henry said after practice Thursday.

The Lakers are still without Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (elbow) and Jordan Farmar (hamstring). Bryant was filling in out of position at point guard, with Henry serving as backup.


Now it’s all Henry.

“It’s just sad. It’s sad. All you can do is feel for these guys,” said Henry of his injured teammates. “We know how hard [Bryant] worked to get to this point, and for that to happen, it’s tough. I’m sure he’ll work just as hard to get back as soon as possible and he’ll be ready.”

The results of Bryant’s MRI came in while the Lakers were practicing. Coach Mike D'Antoni gave the team the news as they wrapped up for the day.

“Coach told us right after practice, and we didn’t take it too well,” said Henry. “All we can do is pray for him and hope he gets better soon.”

Henry was originally drafted in 2010 with the 12th overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies. He struggled to find his place in Memphis and briefly in New Orleans with the Hornets (now Pelicans) before signing with the Lakers as a free agent on a nonguaranteed contract.

Through 25 appearances, Henry is averaging 9.6 points but just 1.0 assist a game.

He’s not too worried about any point guard curse, knocking the Laker point guards out one by one.

“I’m all right. I don’t go down and stay down very easily. I’ll be fine,” Henry said. “I get up more than I go down.”

The Lakers play Friday night at Staples Center against the Minnesota Timberwolves.


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