Following a three-game absence, George Hill will make his return to the court for the Utah Jazz against Ricky Rubio and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
After posting a 10-5 record during the month of December, the Utah Jazz have been less successful in 2017. They were able to beat up on a rebuilding Brooklyn Nets team by double digits, but have since lost consecutive games to the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors.
Injuries have continued to play a major part in many of the team’s setbacks, but during the recent two-game skid, none were as impactful as George Hill‘s concussion and lip laceration. Without his defense and presence as a floor general, opposing point guards ran wild on Utah.
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The Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas dropped 29 on the Jazz, while Kyle Lowry of the Raptors scored 33. It’s been a common theme for the Jazz this season; when Hill is out, the Jazz struggle to defend the point. A few, short weeks ago, Ty Lawson managed to score 19 points in just 25 minutes to lead the Sacramento Kings to an unlikely win in Utah.
Ty freaking Lawson.
However, when the Jazz take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, Wolves point man Ricky Rubio may find it difficult to join that list of guards who have gone off. After a three-game absence, Hill is on-target for a return at the Target Center.
Hill, whose facial laceration has been so funky that he’s struggled to eat solid food, was fit enough to participate in Jazz shootaround Saturday morning. It was one of the final hurdles he had to clear according to the league’s concussion protocol.
All that remained following practice was for him to pass a symptom check. Per an announcement from the Jazz, he has done so and was officially cleared to return by the team’s medical staff —
Hill has only appeared in 13 games for the Jazz this season. However, he’s averaging nearly 19 points, four assists and four rebounds per game over that stretch. He’s also shooting just under 55 percent from the field and 48 percent from three-point range.
However, the biggest number for Hill is six. As in the Jazz are 6-0 when he and Hayward play together. It’s a streak they’ll look to extend against a Wolves team stocked with young talent like Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.
With Hill back in the fold, the Jazz are fielding a full complement of players for the first time since 2014. The return to health couldn’t have come any sooner with the team facing a difficult January schedule.