Xavier Henry Injury: Memphis Grizzlies Have Injury-Prone Player on Their Hands

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIDecember 15, 2011

NEW YORK - JUNE 24:  Xavier Henry celebrates after being drafted twelfth by the Memphis Grizzlies at Madison Square Garden on June 24, 2010 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Xavier Henry suffered a second-degree sprained ankle on Wednesday, forcing him to miss action with the Memphis Grizzlies for four weeks, according to The Commercial Appeal. In the best case scenario, Henry could be back in two weeks. Henry has torn ligaments in his ankle. He injured his ankle when he stepped on the foot of a Grizzlies teammate driving to the basket in practice.

This is a huge blow for Henry in his second year, although not such a big problem for the Grizzlies. Henry looks like his career won't be a wild success. Rather, he looks like he might be in for an injury-plagued NBA journey.

Henry was on a decent track to start his rookie year with the Grizzlies in 2010-11. Through December 2010, he had played 28 games, starting 16 and averaging 5.6 points per game. Lionel Hollins apparently grew to like him enough to start him in 11 games that December.

In January, the injury bug started to bite Henry.  He developed a chronically sore knee, which bothered him the rest of the season. Henry's knee problem forced him to miss a great deal of time. Henry only played 10 games from January on, averaging a sparse 4.1 minutes per game in that time.

Suddenly, the once promising prospect had become a shell of a player. After the season, one had to wonder if the Kansas alumnus and one-time blue chip high school player could be a significant contributor for the Grizzlies as time wears on.

Henry's ankle injury signals that that's probably not the case. A second significant injury in the calender year is a bad sign for Henry.  Sure, the ankle injury will subside within a month, but the sore knee won't go away ever.

Sadly, Henry looks like he'll become one of the last players on the bench for the Grizzlies. He'll come on the floor late in games. Periodically, he'll score in double figures. However, his knees will probably bother him too much to let him go far.

Fortunately for the Grizzlies, this won't hurt their season. The Grizzlies are just fine with 2-guards.  Tony Allen, one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, is fine as a starter. O.J. Mayo, a 43.8 percent career shooter, is the first player off the bench for the Grizzlies. Rookie Josh Selby, another Kansas product, could be a nice scorer.

Hence, the Grizzlies are just fine at the position. Henry might not be fine. Seeing players suffer injury-plagued careers is sad, but Henry seems headed in that direction.