Could This Be the End for Grant Hill?

Holly MacKenzieNBA Lead BloggerMarch 30, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 10:  Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns holds the ball as he directs the offense against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 99-83. 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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Disappointing news out of Phoenix today: Grant Hill will be going under the knife on Friday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. 

This is the same knee that Hill had arthroscopic surgery on in September to remove a loose piece of cartilage. Paul Coro reports:

Hill, the league's second oldest player by a day at age 39, said Wednesday that his right knee first began bothering him two weeks ago when he took a hit to the inside of the joint, where the tear is located. On Sunday, Hill said it worsened when he took a charge against Cleveland and eventually left the game. He was hopeful to return but his lateral movement remained limited before Tuesday's and Wednesday's games and he was held out each time.

This is a huge bummer all around. Hill will be out until at least mid-April, but could need more time to recover. The 39-year-old has certainly done everything in his power to stay on the floor. He's been very open about his training regimen and diet, crediting the combo for allowing him to play extended minutes for the Suns this season.

Sometimes the body betrays us and there isn't anything that can be done to prevent it. In Hill's case, getting hit is a part of the game, it's going to happen. Still, the rigors of this shortened schedule have played a part in bodies being more susceptible to injury. There isn't enough time for bodies to heal, guys to rehab, muscles to rest.

While younger players are feeling the strain of learning how to get used to the NBA game in a whirlwind year that's more of a grind than ever before, it's truly a mess for the veterans.

While you never want to see any guy go down, it's extra tough when it's someone like Hill, a player who was robbed of so much of his prime because of injury. After the triumphant comeback he has completed, it hurts to know he'll have to go under the knife again.

The crazy thing that Coro reminds us is that Hill had only missed three games total in his previous three seasons with the Suns. Think about that for a second. At his age, with his history, that sounds like it can't be true.

Hopefully all will go well on Friday and Hill will recover on time and return on schedule. If he doesn't, though, he'll have plenty of time to get right over the offseason.

I hate when guys retire. It makes me sad. Because of that, I always worry when a vet gets injured/needs surgery. I don't think that's happening with Hill, though.

Check the comments from Jared Dudley on all that Hill does for the team:

"He's our glue guy," Suns guard Jared Dudley said after the Suns lost to the Clippers without him Wednesday night. "He calms us defensively. He's the best defensive player. He's the one who guarded Chris Paul at home and slowed him down. Offensively, he is efficient and gets out on the break and that makes other people guard him and open up 3-pointers. He posts up and makes the extra pass."

On a nightly basis, Hill is the guy charged with the task of slowing the opponent's best wing player. He has proven that age ain't nothing but a number (miss you, Aaliyah) when you're healthy and motivated.

Here's hoping his body will continue to cooperate so he gets to keep proving and playing beyond this season.