Grant Hill, who has been sidelined all season with a bone bruise in his right knee, practiced with the team Monday and could be back as early as Saturday, when the Clippers play the Orlando Magic at Staples Center.
“We’ll see how he does tomorrow in practice, and we’ll make that assessment how he reacts to a little more physical contact tomorrow,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said Monday. “He was doing all the drills today and for the past couple of weeks, so he said he feels good. But we’ve got to get him out there with some contact, and obviously his rhythm and timing is off, but it won’t take him long.”
Grant Hill, who turned 40 last October, signed with the Clippers for two years on their bi-annual exception. Hill was slated to back up Caron Butler at the small forward spot but he hasn’t played at all in the regular season. He will give the Clippers yet even more depth on their squad and hopefully provide some good perimeter defense even with his 40-year-old knees. He spent the last five seasons with the Suns and was one of the better defenders in an offensive-oriented team in Phoenix.
Chauncey Billups, Markazi reported, will return sometime at the end of this month. Jamal Crawford has missed the last two games due to a sore foot but could play Wednesday against Dallas.
Hill has been in the league since 1994 and is the second oldest player in the league (Kurt Thomas from the New York Knicks is one day older). He was an explosive player for the Detroit Pistons and was probably going to be a perennial all-NBA first-teamer if it weren’t for his ankle problems that sidelined him for most of the middle part of his career.
Hill made the All-Star team seven times, last making it in 2005 after recovering from his ankle issues. He would go to Phoenix as a role player and helped the Suns make the Western Conference Finals in 2010.
Grant Hill has career averages of 17.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. He obviously won’t average that much for the Clippers in a much more limited role.