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Grant Hill hopes to play in January

The Clippers' veteran forward hasn't played this season because of a knee injury.

DENVERGrant Hill smiled as soon as he was asked if he has a target date to play in his first game of the regular season for the Clippers.


"Yeah," Hill said, smiling. "In my mind."


Hill has a bone bruise in his right knee that has kept him out since the exhibition season.


He said he has "ramped up" his workout activity.


So Hill was asked what date he has in mind to play.


"Sometime in January," is all Hill would say.


"Hopefully soon I'll get to start practicing a little bit," he said. "They are stressing that a lot of it is how you respond. So a target date could be sooner, it could be later. You want to let your body dictate that."


Hill ran and shot before the Clippers played the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, something he has been doing a lot of lately.


He sprinted on the treadmill for "about 30-minute intervals" on Tuesday.


"It's responding well," Hill said. "It's coming. I'm getting close, feeling good."


The Clippers play only two games next week, giving them five days off and time for the team to have some practices.


That could give Hill some time to practice with his teammates.


As for Chauncey Billups, who has tendinitis in his left foot, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said his shooting guard is not as close as Hill appears to be.


Del Negro said Billups did get some therapy Tuesday.


"We're just trying to give him as much time as he needs and be smart about it," Del Negro said. "We don't want to rush either one back. We want to make sure that they are big factors for us as we move forward throughout the season."


-Broderick Turner