NBA

Lakers' F Hill cleared to play 3 months early

04/24 7:20 PM

Los Angeles Lakers backup forward Jordan Hill has been cleared to play in Game 2 of the Lakers' opening round series against the San Antonio Spurs, just three months after undergoing surgery on his left hip.

SAN ANTONIO -- Los Angeles Lakers backup forward Jordan Hill has been cleared to play in Game 2 of the Lakers' opening-round series against the San Antonio Spurs, just three months after undergoing surgery on his left hip.

Hill was originally expected to be sidelined six months after undergoing surgery that included removal of loose fragments, repair of a torn labrum and a microfracture procedure to repair damaged cartilage, according to the team.

"Nobody planned on me coming back and suiting up," Hill said.

Hill's timeline was moved up after being examined by Dr. Thomas Byrd in Nashville, Tenn., earlier this month, who allowed Hill to resume basketball activities.

"I thought it was over for this season, but my surgeon, Dr. Byrd, I went down there for those follow-ups and he couldn't believe how fast I was getting back," Hill said. "How (good) my strength was, my range of motion, everything."

"Jordan's available," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said Wednesday. "Obviously he's out of shape a little bit and hasn't participated in hardly anything, but push comes to shove, we could use him."

Hill was on the active roster in the Lakers' 91-79 loss Sunday, but D'Antoni did not play him.

The fourth-year big man has not played in a game for the Lakers since injuring his hip Jan. 6 against the Denver Nuggets. Hill appeared in 29 games this season, averaging 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 15.8 minutes.

A lot happened in Laker Land since the last time Hill suited up, from the death of team owner Dr. Jerry Buss to a season-ending Achilles tear for Kobe Bryant.

There also was the unfortunate incident involving Hill's car, when someone driving his 2007 Bentley crashed into a Marina del Rey building while under the influence.

"Well, his car got out of control a little bit, but other than that he's just playing, he's just recovering," D'Antoni said, making light of the accident. "Obviously whoever did the surgery did a great job, and they're really good at recovering people and he's done a great job. He's been there every day and rehabbed it and did what he's supposed to do, and it's a testament to his work."

Hill, 25, signed a two-year deal worth approximately $7 million with the Lakers last summer.

Jodie Meeks, another one of the Lakers' key free-agent signings coming into this season, is officially listed as a game-time decision but is expected to play after suffering a mild sprain of his left ankle in Game 1.

Meeks did not practice the past two days but was able to participate in shootaround Wednesday.

"He'll warm up pretty good [before the game] and we'll see where it is, but he said it felt pretty good," D'Antoni said.


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