Grant Hill is regaining his stride slowly but surely.
The Clippers’ veteran forward played in back-to-back games against the Portland Trail Blazers over the weekend, the latest step in his recovery from a bruised right knee suffered in the preseason.
After playing 14 minutes in the Clippers’ loss in Portland on Saturday, the seven-time All-Star returned to action for 20 minutes Sunday in the Clippers’ 96-83 win over the Trail Blazers, scoring six points with two assists.
Is the knee holding up? “The rest of my body is sore, but my knee feels good,” Hill said after Sunday’s game.
Hill is in his 18th season and, at 40, is the second-oldest active player in the NBA; New York Knicks forward Kurt Thomas is one day older than Hill.
Acquired as a free agent in the off-season, Hill was prevented by the knee injury from playing his first game as a Clipper until Jan. 12. Now it’s a matter of building up his strength.
“It’s not where I want it to be, but it’s getting there,” Hill said of his conditioning. “It’s been about two weeks [of playing]. Hopefully in another two weeks it will be good.”
Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said that “he’s got to get his timing back, his conditioning, and that’s just going to come with time and that’s going to take some game reps,” or repetitions.
“Obviously, Grant knows how to play and I think he can give us some really good minutes, especially with that second group, with his leadership, his versatility, just his experience overall,” Del Negro said.
With Chris Paul out indefinitely because of a bruised right kneecap, the Clippers are without their loudest and most persistent voice on the court. That means “it’s important for all of us to be vocal at some point in the game, whether it’s on the bench, on the court,” forward Lamar Odom said…. Eric Bledsoe, the Clippers’ main point guard in place of Paul, played a turnover-free 35 minutes Sunday, Bledsoe’s second-longest stint so far this season…. The Clippers, who did not practice Monday, are 2-0 this season against Minnesota, against which the Clippers open an eight-game trip Wednesday.