Charlotte Bobcats co-captain Gerald Henderson was actually relieved by what he heard from the doctor Tuesday.
Losing 2-4 weeks with a left mid-foot sprain is no bargain, but Henderson feared worse – a ligament tear that would have required surgery and jeopardized his season.
“It had potential to be worse where the injury was,” Henderson said, his foot wrapped in a protective boot. “It’s pretty painful to walk on. It could have been broken.
“It could have been a higher degree of tear of ligaments; I could have had surgery. Not anything like that. So I was happy to hear what he said.”
Henderson, last season’s leading scorer at 15.1 points per game, injured his foot in the second half of Saturday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks. He left the court in pain and was immediately taken to the training room for X-rays that came back negative.
“I drove down the middle of the lane and got fouled. I slipped, and my foot kind of dragged on the ground and turned a little weird,” Henderson described. “I got up and felt something was wrong. I just couldn’t put a whole bunch of pressure on it, so I knew something was wrong.”
The Bobcats will be scrambling to fill all the things Henderson does. Along with being the starting shooting guard he’s been the backup small forward this season. He’s third on the Bobcats in scoring at 12.5 points per game and sixth in the NBA in steals at three per game.
Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said he won’t decide who to move into the starting lineup until Wednesday, when the Bobcats host the Phoenix Suns. Dunlap told the Observer he’s considering Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions. Also, rookie Jeff Taylor figures to have a bigger role in Henderson’s absence.
“We’ll do it by committee. We have plenty of young guys who need (playing time). Also we have some guys on the second unit who can step into that chair,” Dunlap said.
While Henderson, a former Duke star, is a big part of the Bobcats this season, Dunlap said it’s important as coach to send the message this isn’t cause for panic.
“Our focus is always ‘Next play, next guy up,’ ” Dunlap said. “There’s just no value in talking long about adversity. It’s more addressing the question: Who are your candidates for tomorrow night? You know who they are.”
The Bobcats are relatively deep at shooting guard. Gordon, acquired in trade from the Detroit Pistons, is the team’s most experienced scorer. Sessions is a point guard who can defend shooting guards. Reggie Williams can play either shooting guard or small forward. Matt Carroll is available.
“I feel like I’m a huge part of what we’re doing, but injuries are just part of the NBA. Somebody goes down, then somebody has to step up,” Henderson said. “We’ve got some good wing players, so guys are going to play, score the ball and play defense. I’m confident they’ll do a good job.”