Grant Hill Injury: Updates on Clippers Forward's Knee

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2012

Courtesy of Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press
Courtesy of Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press

Grant Hill is going to play key minutes on the wing for the Los Angeles Clippers this season, but it might be awhile before he's able to do so.

According to The Orange County Register reporter Daniel Woike, Hill is going to miss the season opener and possibly more:

Veteran forward Grant Hill will likely miss opening night on Oct. 31, and it could be weeks into the regular season until he returns. An MRI performed on Hill's right knee showed a bone bruise, Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said Tuesday.

The report also mentions that Hill himself said, after the team's preseason game Monday night, that "his injury will keep him out at least a couple of weeks."

Hill is a replaceable player with Matt Barnes, Caron Butler and Travis Leslie also playing small forward, but he's also a key piece in the bench rotation.

Last season, Hill averaged 10.2 points, 2.2 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game for the Phoenix Suns. At 40 years old, he's lost more than a step, but he's still a savvy offensive player who can provide veteran leadership for the Clippers' squad.

Aside from Hill's natural small forward position, Woike's report mentions that "Hill was expected to compete with Matt Barnes and Willie Green for the starting shooting guard spot until Chauncey Billups returns." That hurts the team's depth in a different way, leaving the team short-handed overall.

In the fantasy basketball world, it's pretty safe to assume that most people do not own him. If you do, and he was buried on your bench, finding another option might be a good idea. Even when he does come back, this isn't a good sign.

Hill's injury doesn't sound extremely serious, but you can never tell with a player like him. He's only played in 70-plus games in nine of his 17 NBA seasons.

Talent has never been the problem for Hill, but his fragile physique has been. With Los Angeles, he's not expected to take on a star's role, but quality reserve players are a must in the rugged Western Conference.

Ideally, this injury doesn't last long. Stay tuned for updates regarding Hill's status.